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MEN   versus  THE   MAN 


ROBERT  RIVES   LA  MONTE,  Socialist 



H.  L.  MENCKEN,  Individualist 







Published  March,  iqio 


THIS  book  is  precisely  what  it  pretends  to  be :  a 
series  of  letters  between  friends.  They  were  writ- 
ten because  the  general  subject  of  the  organization 
of  society  was  one  which  vastly  attracted  both  of 
us,  and  because  a  space  of  three  hundred  miles 
made  a  more  intimate  discussion  impossible.  Into 
them  there  went,  not  so  much  a  learned  review  of 
the  evidence  and  the  prophets,  as  a  record  of  per- 
sonal, and  often  transient  opinions  and  impressions. 
Changes  of  position  are  to  be  noticed  in  more  than 
one  place,  but  inasmuch  as  the  purpose  of  each 
disputant  was  to  shake  the  stand  of  the  other,  this 
proof  of  occasional  success  may  be  accepted,  it  is 
hoped,  without  impatience.  It  was  thought  best 
to  print  the  letters  without  attempting  to  trans- 
form their  epistolary  freedom  into  a  more  sedate 
dialectic  manner.  They  offer  few  new  contribu- 
tions of  either  fact  or  theory  to  the  great  questions 
they  presume  to  discuss,  but  it  is  possible  that  they 
may  be  of  some  interest  as  showing  how  variously 
the  accepted  facts  and  theories  appear  and  appeal 
to  two  somewhat  eager  inquirers. 





You  and  I  are  fairly  typical  of  the  hosts  of  edu- 
cated young  men  and  women  of  upper  and  middle 
class  antecedents  who  are  so  far  from  satisfied  with 
life  as  it  is  that  the  man  in  the  street  who  styles  us 
"  knockers  "  does  not  come  very  wide  of  the  mark. 
But  yet  we  differ,  and  differ  widely;  you,  in  spite 
of  your  sturdy  independence  of  mind,  are  in  the 
main  a  disciple  of  Nietzsche,  or,  in  other  words, 
you  are  an  Individualist  whose  ideal  is  a  splendid 
aristocratic  oligarchy  of  Beyond  Men  ruling  over 
a  hopelessly  submerged  rabble;  I  am  a  Socialist 
and  a  faithful  disciple  of  Marx — not  that  I  believe 
Marx  to  have  been  superhuman  or  infallible,  but 
simply  that  I  have  found  him  to  be  right  in  so  many 
cases,  that  I  feel  that  there  is  a  strong  presump- 
tion that  he  is  right  even  where  I  cannot  clearly 
see  that  he  is. 

Let  us  first  examine  the  grounds  of  our  basic 
agreement,  and  then  it  will  be  easier  to  recognize 
the  reason  for  the  very  wide  divergence  of  our  con- 

2  Men  vs.  the  Man 

elusions.  We  are  both  idealists  in  the  sense  that 
Don  Quixote  and  Jesus  Christ  and  Thomas  Jeffer- 
son were  idealists,  but  there  are  idealists  and  ideal- 
ists. The  difference  depends  upon  the  nature  of 
the  ideal.  If  the  ideal  be  one  capable  of  attain- 
ment or  at  least  of  reasonably  close  approxima- 
tion, the  idealist  is  what  we  call  a  practical  man 
— he  may  even  be  a  scientist,  a  materialist,  or  an 
atheist,  as  are  many  of  the  most  effective  and 
determined  fighters  for  Socialism.  If  the  ideal  be 
one  hopelessly  beyond  reach  of  attainment,  if  the 
idealist  hitches  his  wagon  to  a  star  without  having 
studied  astronomy  sufficiently  to  ascertain  whether 
the  orbit  of  the  star  is  along  a  road  over  which  his 
poor  man-made  wagon  may  pass  in  safety,  then  we 
call  him  a  dreamer,  a  visionary,  a  Utopian,  or  a 
madman.  It  is  probable  that  in  our  secret  hearts 
this  is  the  view  each  of  us  takes  of  the  other. 

You,  recognizing  that  within  historical  times 
there  has  ever  been  a  rabble  of  well-nigh  sub-human 
men  and  women,  believe  that  the  only  ideal  that 
you,  as  a  practical  man,  can  accept  is  one  including 
such  a  rabble.  To  you  the  man  who  proposes 
the  abolition  of  this  sub-human  herd  is  a  mystical 
dreamer  who  ignores  the  stern  teachings  of  his- 
tory. It  must  be  admitted  that  much  of  the  cur- 
rent Socialist  literature— H.  G.  Wells'  "New 
Worlds  for  Old,11  for  instance — which  presents  So- 
cialism as  a  scheme  for  human  amelioration  which 
Society  is  free  to  adopt  or  reject  as  it  will,  as  a 

Men  vs.  the  Man  3 

sort  of  patent  panacea  for  human  ills  which  the 
patient  may  or  may  not  elect  to  imbibe;  it  must 
be  admitted  that  the  great  bulk  of  this  literature 
of  polite  propaganda  goes  far  toward  justifying 
your  view. 

But  the  typical  Socialist  of  Germany,  France, 
England,  and  America,  the  man  or  woman  who 
gives  his  or  her  energies  to  educating  and  organiz- 
ing and  disciplining  the  wonderful,  world-wide 
army,  ever  growing,  ever  marching  forward,  un- 
dismayed by  defeat,  sure  of  ultimate  victory,  al- 
ready thirty  million  strong — the  largest  army  under 
a  single  banner  the  world  has  ever  seen — this  typ- 
ical, work-a-day,  militant  Socialist  does  not  look 
upon  himself  or  herself  as  a  patent  medicine  ven- 
der, but  as  a  John  the  Baptist  proclaiming  with  no 
uncertain  sound  the  advent  of  a  New  Order.  Such 
an  army  inspired  by  a  common  faith,  even  though 
the  faith  be  a  delusion,  animated  by  a  common 
purpose,  even  though  the  purpose  be  incapable  of 
realization,  is  a  force  that  you  as  a  practical  man 
must  reckon  with. 

But  is  the  faith  a  delusion?  Is  the  purpose  in- 
capable of  realization?  Let  us  see.  If  it  is  im- 
possible for  the  Old  Order  to  persist,  then  it  fol- 
lows that  a  New  Order  must  come.  I  will  post- 
pone for  the  present  discussing  what  that  New 
Order  is  to  be,  and  will  proceed  to  show  you  that 
the  Old  Order  cannot  continue.  I  will  give  you 
as  little  history,  political  economy,  and  statistics 

4  Men  vs.  the  Man 

as  may  be  for  two  reasons ;  first,  I  know  very  little 
of  such  things  myself;  second,  I  wish  to  be  agree- 
able to  you,  and  I  have  found  by  experience  that 
practical  people  have  an  extreme  distaste  for  exact 

In  a  broad  way  the  great  difference  between  the 
economy  of  the  Middle  Ages  and  the  economy  of 
to-day,  is  that  then  production  was  chiefly  for  use 
— for  local  use — while  to-day  production  is  almost 
solely  for  sale.  So  that  the  smooth  working  of 
our  modern  industrial  and  commercial  complexus 
depends  upon  the  possibility  of  an  adequate  and  un- 
interrupted sale  of  goods.  Whenever  the  sale  of 
goods  is  interrupted,  as  it  was  signally  in  1873, 
1893,  and  1907,  we  have  great  panics. 

Since  the  latter  part  of  the  eighteenth  century 
we  have  had  a  continuous  series  of  great  mechan- 
ical inventions  which  have  revolutionized  and  are 
day  by  day  revolutionizing  ever  more  rapidly  our 
mode  of  production.  The  great  net  result  of  these 
changes  is  that  the  productive  power  of  man  has 
been  hugely  multiplied.  I  think  I  am  well  within 
the  mark  in  saying  that  one  hour's  work  to-day 
produces  as  much  as  one  hundred  hours'  work  in 
Adam  Smith's  day.  Let  us  see  what  the  concrete 
effect  of  this  is.  If  we  turn  to  the  statistics  gath- 
ered by  our  government  at  Washington,  we  find 
that  in  1900  the  average  annual  product  per  worker 
employed  was  in  round  numbers  $2,000,  while 
the  average  wages  were  about  $400.  The  diffi- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  5 

culty  of  disposing  of  the  product  is  already  begin- 
ning to  appear.  It  is  obvious  that  a  man  with 
$400  cannot  purchase  $2,000  worth  of  goods. 
Over  fifty  per  cent,  of  our  population  actually  be- 
long to  the  working  class.  Add  to  them  the 
farmers,  whose  purchasing  power  is  not  propor- 
tionally much  greater,  and  you  have  all  but  a 
handful  of  our  people.  It  is  obvious  that  if  our 
total  product  were  composed  of  articles  of  personal 
consumption,  and  if  we  were  limited  to  the  home 
or  domestic  market,  the  disposition  of  the  product 
by  sale  would  be  impossible.  But  we  have  for- 
eign markets,  and  we  produce  pig-iron  as  well  as 
pig-meat.  The  dependence  of  the  first  great  manu- 
facturing country,  England,  upon  her  foreign  sales 
was  recognized  in  her  proud  boast  that  England 
was  the  workshop  of  the  world.  But  to-day  in 
every  market  in  the  world  England  is  meeting  the 
ever-fiercer  competition  of  Germany  and  America, 
while  Japan  is  wresting  the  markets  of  the  Orient 
from  both  Europe  and  America,  and  the  coming 
industrial  development  of  China — the  true  Yellow 
Peril — is  already  the  nightmare  of  every  far-seeing 
European  and  American  conservative.  The  for- 
eign market  has  been  an  immensely  serviceable 
safety-valve,  but  inexorable  economic  develop- 
ment— or  Fate  or  Kismet,  if  you  will — is  rapidly 
screwing  it  shut. 

The  other  safety-valve — the  application  of  cap- 
ital and  labor  to  the  production  of  pig-iron  instead 

6  Men  vs.  the  Man 

of  pig-meat — has  been  greatly  developed  in  the 
past  decade,  and  as  a  means  of  partial  relief  prom- 
ises to  outlast  the  foreign  market  safety-valve. 
The  more  capital  and  labor  can  be  withdrawn 
from  the  production  of  articles  of  common  every- 
day consumption,  and  employed  in  producing 
permanent  industrial  or  transportation  plant,  the 
less  becomes  the  immediate  difficulty  in  disposing  of 
our  annual  product.  There  can  be  no  doubt  that 
our  recent  period  of  prosperity  was  prolonged 
and  the  panic  of  1907  postponed  by  the  wholesale 
employment  of  capital  and  labor  in  such  vast  un- 
dertakings as  the  tunnels  under  the  East  and  North 
rivers.  But  once  such  works  are  completed,  they 
facilitate  the  production  and  distribution  of  goods, 
or  save  time  or  labor  in  some  way,  and  thus  in 
the  long  run  accentuate  the  difficulty  they  tem- 
porarily relieve. 

In  our  separate  productive  establishments  a  part 
of  the  capital  employed  must  always  be  invested  in 
permanent  plant  and  a  part  paid  out  for  wages 
day  by  day  and  week  by  week.  Competition  be- 
tween rival  plants  has  always  compelled  the  con- 
stant improvement  and  development  of  machinery, 
and  has  thus  compelled  the  owners  constantly  to 
invest  larger  and  larger  portions  of  their  total 
capital  in  permanent  plant.  This  change  in  what 
economists  call  the  composition  of  capital  has  been 
forced  upon  the  captains  of  industry  irrespective 
of  their  wishes,  and  its  effect  has  been  to  in- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  7 

crease  steadily  and  tremendously  the  disproportion 
between  the  value  of  the  product  and  the  purchas- 
ing-power of  the  wage-earners  employed.  Alike  in 
the  separate  industrial  plant  and  in  the  nation  as 
a  whole  the  constantly  progressing  change  in  the 
composition  of  capital — a  change  necessitated  by 
the  process  itself  and  that  must  go  on — in  the  long 
run  makes  ever  more  difficult  the  sale  of  the  total 

We  are  thus  confronted  by  a  condition,  not  a 
theory.  The  masses  of  the  people  are  unable  to 
purchase  more  than  about  one-fifth  of  the  annual 
product,  and  this  fatal  lack  of  purchasing  power 
is  destined  to  increase  steadily  irrespective  of  any 
human  will. 

Are  we  not  forced,  my  dear  Mencken,  to  the 
conclusion  that  we  are  upon  the  threshold  of 
economic  changes  so  vast  that  no  word  short  of 
Revolution  is  adequate  to  describe  them?  I  sin- 
cerely believe  that  purely  as  a  matter  of  economics 
the  progressive  and  inexorable  change  in  the  tech- 
nical composition  of  capital  makes  a  Social  Revolu- 
tion inevitable,  and  further  that  this  revolution  is 
so  close  upon  us  that  it  behooves  you  and  me,  as 
prudent  men,  to  prepare  for  it. 

What  sort  of  a  revolution  is  it  to  be?  Will  it 
place  in  power  an  oligarchy  of  Nietzschean  Im- 
moralists — ancestors  of  the  Beyond  Men  to-be? 
Something  of  this  sort  was  predicted  a  few  years 
ago  by  W.  J.  Ghent  in  his  "  Our  Benevolent  Feu- 

8  Men  vs.  the  Man 

dalism,"  and  has  just  been  far  more  vividly  de- 
scribed as  a  possibility  by  Jack  London  in  that 
vigorous  and  brilliant,  if  depressing  book,  "  The 
Iron  Heel." 

Or  will  it  make  the  means  of  life  the  common 
possession  of  all,  and  thus  abolish  poverty  forever, 
and  usher  in  the  era  of  fellowship  so  long  fore- 
told by  bards  and  seers  ? 

To  answer  these  questions  we  must  make  a  slight 
excursion  into  the  field  of  psychology.  Econom- 
ics tell  us  that  with  all  our  male  population  be- 
tween the  ages  of  twenty-five  and  forty-five  work- 
ing three  or  four  hours  daily,  we  could  produce 
enough  to  keep  our  whole  population  in  such  com- 
fort as  to-day  requires  an  income  of  $5,000  a 

If  this  is  possible,  and  no  statistician  or  econ- 
omist is  foolhardy  enough  to  deny  it,  whether  or 
not  the  coming  Social  Revolution  will  bring  it  to 
pass  depends  upon  the  intelligence  or  desires  of 
the  masses.  Let  us  see  how  these  are  determined. 
A  man's  mode  of  thought  depends  upon  his  mode 
of  life.  The  man  who  depends  largely  upon 
changes  in  weather  or  climate,  which  seem  to  him 
to  be  utterly  beyond  the  power  of  the  human  will 
to  control,  will  be  superstitious,  whether  he  be  a 
red  Maori  savage  in  New  Zealand,  or  a  bar- 
barian tan-tinted  grower  of  vegetables  on  Long 
Island  or  in  Connecticut.  But  the  man  who  works 
with  machinery  which  runs  with  uniform  regular- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  9 

ity  and  is  almost  absolutely  under  human  control 
and  direction,  ceases  to  be  superstitious,  reasons 
straight  from  cause  to  effect  or  from  effect  back  to 
cause,  ceases  to  go  to  church  or  chapel  to  pray  to 
God  for  daily  bread,  and  grows  rudely  and  om- 
inously unwilling  to  go  barefooted  because  of  an 
over-production  of  shoes,  or  hungry  because  of  a 
plethora  of  beef  and  corn. 

Now,  as  Professor  Veblen  has  pointed  out,  the 
Machine  Process  is  dominating  directly  and  af- 
fecting indirectly  ever  more  and  more  of  our  pop- 
ulation, and  the  significant  point  is  that  these  are 
just  the  people  who  suffer  most  from  the  continu- 
ance of  the  present  system  and  who  have  every- 
thing to  gain  by  making  the  factories  and  railroads 
and  farms  the  common  property  of  all  the  people. 
The  factory  worker  is  disciplined  in  co-operation 
in  his  daily  work  in  the  factory,  he  lives  gregari- 
ously in  tenements,  and  is  accustomed  to  collective 
bargaining  through  the  medium  of  his  union.  If 
he  thinks  at  all,  he  must  think  toward  Socialism. 
Often  for  years  he  hardly  thinks  at  all,  but  panics 
come  and  bring  unemployment.  Unemployment 
is  a  powerful  mental  stimulus.  When  the  panic 
passes  and  the  unemployed  man  gets  work,  he  is 
very  likely  to  become  a  dues-paying  member  of  the 
Socialist  party. 

Our  argument  has  thus  far  brought  us  to  the 
conclusion  that  a  Social  Revolution  is  imminent, 
and  that  the  very  conditions  of  their  lives  are  com- 

io  Men  vs.  the  Man 

pelling  to  socialistic  thought  and  desires  that  ever 
growing  host  of  the  population  employed  in  con- 
nection with  machinery — the  very  part  of  the  pop- 
ulation who  have  nothing  to  fear  from  a  revolu- 
tion, who,  in  the  words  of  Marx,  "  have  nothing 
to  lose  but  their  chains,  and  a  whole  world  to 
gain."  But  to-day  no  one  wholly  escapes  the  per- 
vasive psychological  effects  of  the  Machine  Process. 
Every  twentieth  century  man  and  woman  thinks 
more  or  less  after  the  fashion  of  the  factory  worker 
of  the  nineteenth  century.  The  thought-life  of 
our  time  is  day  by  day  more  and  more  affected  by 
proletarian  ideals  and  proletarian  modes  of  ratioci- 
nation. Here  and  there  individuals  shielded  by 
a  favorable  economic  situation  from  direct  contact 
with  the  hard  facts  of  contemporary  bread-win- 
ning are  but  little  affected  by  the  new  tendencies, 
but  no  one  wholly  escapes  this  influence.  Thus 
the  economic  and  social  forces  which  are  organiz- 
ing and  drilling  a  mighty  host  of  militant  Socialists 
are  at  the  same  time  making  the  rest  of  the  pop- 
ulation more  or  less  mentally  indisposed  to  combat 
with  zeal  and  earnestness  the  forces  making  for  a 
new  social  order. 

Of  the  active  components  of  our  population  the 
group  which  most  nearly  escapes  the  revolutionary 
psychological  influences  we  have  been  considering, 
is  the  class  of  independent  small  producers  and 
traders.  But  this  class  is  fast  disappearing  before 
the  advance  of  the  trust  and  the  department 

Men  vs.  the  Man  n 

store.  Where  here  and  there  we  still  find  sur- 
vivals of  this  formerly  dominant  typical  American 
group,  we  find  they  have  lost  their  sturdy  inde- 
pendence of  mind  and  character.  They  live  in 
daily  and  hourly  fear  of  economic  extinction;  they 
dread  to  open  their  daily  papers  lest  they  see  in 
them  that  the  manipulations  of  a  Morgan  or  the 
enterprise  of  a  Strauss  shall  have  doomed  them  to 
bankruptcy.  It  is  quite  true  that  this  little  dying 
group  is  psychologically  the  bulwark  of  con- 
servatism, but  they  are  no  longer  a  self-reliant 
militant  group,  and  within  a  decade,  as  a  social 
force  or  factor,  they  will  be  negligible. 

The  educated  professional  classes  formerly  could 
be  relied  on  to  think  and  write  and  speak  in  de- 
fense of  the  established  order,  but  what  of  them 
to-day  and  to-morrow?  The  constant  enlarge- 
ment and  growth  of  our  facilities  for  higher  edu- 
cation are  overcrowding  all  the  liberal  professions, 
and  are  causing  unemployment  to  be  at  least  as 
common  in  professional  life  as  it  is  in  proletarian 
life.  This  difficulty  is  aggravated  by  the  decreas- 
ing power  of  the  middle  classes  to  employ  and 
support  the  professional  men  and  women.  Most 
of  the  ephemeral  reform  movements  of  the  last 
two  decades  have  been  inspired  and  led  by  men 
of  this  class,  but  with  the  ever  extending  psycho- 
logical influence  of  the  Machine  Process  more  and 
more  of  these  discontented  intellectuals  will  adopt 
the  proletarian  point  of  view,  and  place  their 

12  Men  vs.  the  Man 

trained  minds  at  the  disposal  of  the  revolutionary 

We  have  surveyed  very  briefly  the  forces  mak- 
ing for  collectivism.  What  of  the  opposition? 
The  number  of  those  who  have  any  real  interest 
in  opposing  a  Social  Revolution  is  constantly  grow- 
ing, and  must  constantly  grow,  relatively  smaller. 
But  their  political  incompetence  is  even  more  strik- 
ing than  their  numerical  weakness.  This  surely 
needs  no  further  illustration  than  a  reference  to 
the  recent  Congressional  debates  on  railway  rebate 
legislation  and  on  the  panic  currency  bill.  The 
nearer  the  Social  Revolution  approaches,  the 
smaller  the  body  of  its  active  opponents  becomes, 
so  that  it  seems  likely  that  before  the  final  struggle 
is  begun  the  forces  of  reaction  will  number  little 
more  than  the  small  group  of  the  multi-millionaires 
and  the  cowardly  slum-proletariat. 

My  conclusion,  as  you  will  have  already  seen, 
my  dear  Mencken,  is  that  we  are  hard  up  against 
the  Day  of  Judgment,  and  that  the  only  issue  pos- 
sible is  some  form  of  collectivism  or  communism. 
Even  if  you  and  I  felt  that  this  outcome  were  de- 
plorable, would  it  not  be  our  duty,  if  we  recog- 
nized its  inevitability,  to  do  our  part  toward  pre- 
paring the  public  mind  for  the  coming  change? 
To  oppose  a  change  that  we  cannot  prevent  is  but 
to  dam  up  the  mighty  social  forces  and  thus  make 
violence  and  incendiarism  and  bloodshed  the  more 
likely.  To  work  with  the  current  of  progress  is 

Men  vs.  the  Man  13 

to  facilitate  a  peaceful  revolution  which  will  pre- 
serve for  posterity  unimpaired  the  priceless  her- 
itage we  have  received  from  the  culture  of  the 
ages.  In  the  words  of  Karl  Marx,  the  Socialist 
is  merely  a  sort  of  midwife  helping  the  Old  Order 
to  give  birth  to  the  New  with  as  little  pain  as 
may  be. 

But  is  the  coming  Social  Revolution  to  be  de- 
plored? Is  the  present  state  of  affairs  so  perfect 
that  educated  men  such  as  you  should  give  of  their 
talent  and  energy  to  prolong  it  artificially?  Is  the 
socialistic  ideal  so  abhorrent  that  it  is  to  be  post- 
poned at  any  cost? 

I  feel  that  it  is  useless  to  quote  to  you  from  Rob- 
ert Hunter's  "  Poverty  "  the  dreadful  statistics  of 
the  hosts  who  every  year  go  to  fill  paupers'  graves, 
or  from  H.  G.  Wells'  "  New  Worlds  for  Old  " 
the  still  more  appalling  statistics  of  the  number 
of  English  school  children  who  are  underfed, 
diseased,  and  verminous.  You  would  but  repeat 
Nietzsche's  commandment,  "  Be  hard !  "  and  say 
4  These  are  the  weak;  let  them  go  to  the  wall!  " 
But  surely  even  you  would  be  unable  to  deafen 
your  ears  to  "  The  Bitter  Cry  of  the  Children,"  so 
brilliantly  made  articulate  by  John  Spargo.  But 
I  do  confidently  appeal  to  you  in  the  name  of  aris- 
tocracy, of  art,  literature,  and  the  drama.  You 
believe  that  the  aristocrats  should  rule  because 
you  deem  them  worthy  to  rule;  you  believe  the 
mob  should  be  abandoned  to  its  lot  because  it  is  fit 

14  Men  vs.  the  Man 

for  nothing  better.  Go  beneath  the  surface,  my 
friend.  To  what  do  the  aristocrats  owe  the  noble 
and  refined  traits  I  freely  admit  and  even  rejoice 
that  they  possess?  To  the  facts  that  they  and 
their  ancestors  for  several  generations  have  had 
ample  food  and  leisure.  I  do  not  say  that  a  full 
stomach  and  time  for  idleness  are  all  that  is  needed 
to  make  a  gentleman  or  lady.  But  I  do  say  that  a 
gentleman  or  lady  cannot  be  made  without  three 
generations  of  stomachs  that  have  not  suffered  from 
innutrition,  and  three  generations  of  hands  that 
have  not  been  so  worn  with  toil  as  to  make  them 
unfitted  for  other  occupations.  The  Socialist  ideal 
would  mean  full  stomachs  and  ample  leisure  for  all. 
I  do  not  say  that  with  a  Presto,  Change !  the  So- 
cial Revolution  will  make  the  Bowery  tough  a 
Chesterfield.  But  I  do  say  that  it  will  give  to  all 
mankind  the  material  foundation  upon  which  alone 
aristocratic  character  can  be  built.  I  am  a  So- 
cialist, not  because  I  am  an  enemy  of  aristocracy, 
or  because  I  undervalue  it,  but  because  I  wish  the 
proportion  of  aristocrats  to  reach  the  highest  pos- 
sible maximum. 

Surely  it  is  needless  for  me  to  point  out  to  you 
that  to-day  commercialism  has  so  tainted  and  pol- 
luted art,  literature,  and  the  drama,  that  most 
of  our  artists,  fiction-writers,  and  playwrights  are 
mental  prostitutes,  and,  saddest  of  all,  some  of 
them  are  so  degraded  that  they  do  not  even  know 
they  are  prostitutes,  but  seriously  talk  of  their  art! 

Men  vs.  the  Man  15 

I  feel  as  though  I  were  indulging  in  a  platitude 
when  I  venture  to  remind  you  that  it  was  because 
every  Athenian  freeman  was  a  cultured  and  com- 
petent critic  that  sculpture  and  painting  and  the 
drama  attained  to  such  perfection  in  the  days  of 
Pericles.  The  socialistic  ideal  is  that  no  man  or 
woman,  to  say  the  least,  shall  be  less  cultivated  than 
the  average  citizen  of  the  Athens  of  Pericles.  To- 
day, as  you  know  but  too  well,  a  play  of  the  better 
sort  can  only  be  put  on  for  an  occasional  matinee 
at  an  hour  when  our  commercialized  men  cannot 
attend  the  theater,  for  to-day  the  only  appreciable 
portion  of  the  American  community  that  has 
leisure  to  attain  anything  worthy  of  the  name  of 
culture  is  made  up  of  the  women  of  the  upper 

If  you  wish  to  see  better  manners,  more  worthy 
fiction,  higher  art,  and  nobler  drama,  as  I  know 
you  do,  your  only  course  is  to  become  a  Socialist 
comrade,  and  give  us  your  aid  in  hastening  the 
advent  of  the  Social  Revolution. 

Will  you  do  it? 

Yours  faithfully, 



In  one  thing,  at  least,  you  and  I  are  in  agree- 
ment, and  that  is  in  our  common  belief  that  the 
world  is  by  no  means  perfect.  This,  at  first  glance, 
seems  to  convict  us  of  pessimism,  but,  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  we  are  thoroughgoing  optimists,  for  both 
of  us  are  firmly  convinced  that,  however  lamentable 
its  present  degree  of  imperfection,  the  world  may, 
should,  and  will  grow  better.  So  far,  indeed,  we 
agree  fully,  but  when  we  come  to  discuss  the  pre- 
cise method  and  manner  of  this  betterment,  and  to 
define  the  goal  which  lies  ahead — when  we  strive, 
in  brief,  to  lay  bare  the  anatomy  of  human  progress 
— our  divergence,  it  quickly  appears,  is  abysmal. 
Your  ideal  picture  of  the  best  possible  world  seems 
to  me  a  very  fair  picture  of  the  worst  possible 
world,  and  I  have  no  doubt  that,  until  I  convert 
you  and  lead  you  up  to  grace,  my  ideal  picture, 
as  I  have  sketched  it  elsewhere  in  the  past,  and  as 
I  shall  try  to  draw  it,  bit  by  bit,  once  more,  bears 
and  will  bear  to  you  much  the  same  aspect. 

But  before  I  go  into  an  exposition  of  my  own 
theory  of  progress,  I  want  to  point  out  to  you  a 


Men  vs.  the  Man  17 

certain  fault  in  the  argument  of  your  letter — a  cer- 
tain fault  which  seems  to  me  to  reach  its  max- 
imum virulence  to-day  in  the  writings  of  Socialists, 
just  as  it  reached  a  maximum  sixty  years  ago  in  the 
writings  of  Christian  theologians.  It  may  be 
called,  for  want  of  a  better  label,  a  magnificent 
faith  in  incredible  evidence.  At  its  worst,  it  leads 
to  a  ready  acceptance  of  generalizations  that  are 
supported  by  nothing  more  logical  than  a  wish 
that  they  were  true.  At  its  best,  it  seems  to  infect 
you  Socialists  with  a  willingness  to  adopt  and  de- 
fend any  alleged  fact  or  group  of  facts,  however 
dubious,  so  long  as  it  seems  to  prove  your 

This  fault,  my  dear  La  Monte,  is  not  peculiar  to 
you,  and  I  am  firmly  convinced  that,  if  you  are  ever 
hanged,  it  will  be  for  some  other  offense.  As  a 
matter  of  fact,  I  have  found  it  in  far  more  glorious 
flower  in  the  compositions  of  those  older  and 
more  enraptured  Socialists  whose  works  you  have 
sent  me,  for  the  good  of  my  soul,  from  time  to 
time.  But  you  are  guilty,  too,  if  only  in  the  sec- 
ond or  third  degree,  and  this  I  hope  to  prove  to 

You  begin  the  argument  of  your  letter,  for  ex- 
ample, by  quoting  a  government  report,  by  which 
it  appears  that  the  average  American  workingman 
turns  out  $2,000  worth  of  goods  a  year,  and  gets 
$400  for  his  labor.  I  am  utterly  unable  to  verify 
these  figures  (in  which  embarrassment  I  am  ex- 

1 8  Men  vs.  the  Man 

actly  on  a  footing  with  the  statistician  who  fathers 
them),  but  they  seem  very  plausible,  and  so  I  shall 
join  you  in  accepting  them.  Your  own  belief  in 
their  accuracy  is  plainly  without  reservation,  for 
you  proceed  to  make  them  the  foundation  of  your 
argument.  "  It  is  obvious,"  you  say  at  the  start, 
"  that  a  man  with  $400  cannot  purchase  $2,000 
worth  of  goods,"  and  then  you  go  on  to  examine 
this  fact  in  the  light  of  the  Socialist  philosophy, 
and  to  demonstrate  its  immorality.  Setting  aside, 
for  the  present,  your  final  conclusions,  I  am  per- 
fectly willing  to  admit  that  you  are  right  about 
the  man  with  $400.  His  money  will  buy  but  $400 
worth  of  goods,  and  this  leaves  $1,600  worth  to  be 
sold  to  someone  else.  Two  interesting  questions 
now  arise.  The  one  is,  What  other  man  buys 
this  $1,600  worth?  and  the  other  is,  What  does 
this  sum  of  $1,600  represent? 

The  second  question  is  the  more  important,  since 
a  consideration  of  it  reveals  the  answer  to  the 
first.  Your  answer  to  it,  if  I  understand  you 
rightly,  is  that  the  $1,600  represents  the  individual 
workingman's  annual  contribution  to  the  nation's 
store  of  goods,  over  and  above  the  amount  he  is 
able  to  buy  back  with  his  $400  and  consume. 
This  is  what  Karl  Marx  calls  "  surplus  produce," 
and  its  value  he  calls  "  surplus  value."  You  very 
properly  observed  that  a  surplus  of  $1,600  in  every 
$2,000  is  a  very  large  one,  and  point  out  that, 
lacking  a  ready  market,  the  accumulation  of  such 

Men  vs.  the  Man  19 

surpluses  is  bound  to  get  the  nation  into  the  un- 
enviable position  of  a  merchant  with  an  enormous 
and  unsaleable  stock.  In  all  of  this  your  logic  is 
sound  enough,  but  you  start  out,  unfortunately, 
from  fallacious  premises,  for  the  surplus  of  $1,600 
about  which  you  and  the  government  statisticians 
discourse  in  such  alarm  is  almost  entirely  an  aca- 
demic myth.  In  a  word,  it  has  no  actual  existence, 
save  in  small  part.  Outside  of  books  on  political 
economy  it  is  never  heard  of. 

As  a  matter  of  sober  fact — and  I  speak  here 
from  experience  in  one  very  typical  line  of  manu- 
facturing, as  I  shall  show — the  value  of  the  aver- 
age workman's  contribution  to  the  nation's  store  of 
goods,  over  and  above  the  amount  he  buys  back 
with  his  wages,  is  seldom  equal  to  the  value  of  the 
goods  he  thus  buys  back  and  consumes.  The  $400 
man's  contribution  to  the  national  surplus,  far  from 
being  $1,600  a  year,  is  probably  little  more  than 
$160,  and  certainly  a  good  deal  less  than  $400. 
You  assume  that,  by  the  mere  exercise  of  his 
necromancy  upon  an  empty  void,  he  creates  a  value 
of  $2,000,  but  here  you  assume  altogether  too 
much.  What  he  really  does  do  is  this:  he  takes 
$1,200  worth,  more  or  less,  of  raw  material,  adds 
to  it  (let  us  be  generous  and  say)  $800  worth  of 
skill,  and  takes  back  $400  for  his  labor.  His  em- 
ployer now  owns  a  lot  of  goods  which  has  cost  him 
$1,600 — $1,200  for  raw  material  and  $400  paid 
to  the  workman — and  he  offers  it  for  sale  at 

2O  Men  vs.  the  Man 

$2,000.  The  difference — $400 — covers  the  inter- 
est upon  the  employer's  capital,  the  cost  of  selling 
the  goods,  the  cost  of  light,  heat,  and  taxes,  and 
the  cost  of  rent.  Whatever  is  left  over  represents 
the  employer's  reasonable  wage  for  his  enterprise, 
industry,  and  skill.  As  I  hope  to  show  you  later 
on,  this  wage  is  as  much  a  true  wage  as  the  work- 
man's, no  matter  how  large  it  may  be.  But  of  this 
more  anon. 

What  we  have  to  consider  here  is  the  $1,200 
worth  of  raw  material.  You  may  argue,  I  fear,  that 
this  is  a  preposterously  excessive  valuation,  but  let 
me  assure  you  that  it  is  not.  It  so  happens  that  I 
once  enjoyed,  for  three  years,  a  rather  intimate  ac- 
quaintance with  the  workings  of  a  successful  cigar 
factory — a  very  typical  example  of  the  American 
manufacturing  plant  of  moderate  capital.  Well, 
in  that  factory  at  the  time,  let  us  say,  there  was  be- 
ing produced  a  brand  of  cigars  which  cost  about 
$22  a  thousand  to  manufacture — I  say  "  to  manu- 
facture "  and  not  "  to  sell," — and  the  workmen 
who  made  them  were  getting  $6  a  thousand  for 
their  labor.  What  did  the  balance  of  $16  repre- 
sent? Was  it  the  profit  of  the  employer?  Was 
it  the  workman's  free  contribution  to  the  hoard 
of  capital?  Not  at  all!  What  it  actually  did 
represent  was  the  cost  of  the  material  used  by  the 
workman  in  making  cigars — of  the  raw  material 
brought  to  the  factory  and  made  ready  for  the 
tables,  with  all  duties,  taxes,  transportation,  and 

Men  vs.  the  Man  21 

insurance  charges  paid.  It  represented  almost  ex- 
actly the  cost  of  producing  the  cigars,  packed, 
stamped,  and  ready  for  the  selling  department — 
less  the  wages  paid  to  the  cigar-maker!  This 
sum,  you  will  note,  was  almost  thrice  the  amount 
paid  to  the  cigar-maker  for  the  actual  rolling  of 
the  cigars.  Therefore,  my  assumption  of  a  ratio 
of  $400  to  $1,200  in  the  preceding  paragraphs 
was  not  without  some  justification  in  fact. 

But  what  did  the  cost  of  the  raw  material,  of  the 
taxes,  and  of  the  packing  represent?  My  answer 
is  simple:  it  represented  labor.  The  money  paid 
for  the  actual  tobacco  represented  the  labor  of  the 
farmers  who  had  wrung  it  from  a  reluctant  earth, 
and  the  labor  of  the  handlers  and  experts  who  had 
sorted  it  and  cured  it,  and  of  the  trainmen  and  mar- 
iners who  had  transported  it.  Without  this  labor, 
the  tobacco  would  have  had  no  existence;  it  was,  lit- 
erally, the  incarnation  of  hours  of  toil.  The  money 
paid  for  it  by  the  manufacturer  went,  in  great  part, 
straight  back  to  these  laborers.  Putting  the  profits 
of  landowners,  of  brokers,  and  of  stockholders  in 
transportation  companies  at  the  maximum,  the  la- 
borers got  at  least  a  half.  And  the  tale  of  the 
wood  used  in  the  boxes,  of  the  labels  pasted  upon 
them,  of  the  gum  used  to  fasten  the  labels  was 
the  same.  Again,  it  was  the  same  with  the  money 
paid  as  taxes.  It  went  directly  into  the  hands  of 
the  government's  employees,  who  were  engaged, 
day  and  night,  in  producing  that  one  commodity 

22  Men  vs.  the  Man 

without  which  all  other  commodities  cease  to  be — 
civilized  security. 

Therefore,  let  us  assume  that  of  all  the  $1,200 
paid  for  raw  material,  $600  goes  to  workingmen 
as  wages,  and  $600  goes  to  middlemen  and  cap- 
italists as  profits.  We  have  yet  to  account  for 
$800  of  the  $2,000,  but  of  this,  as  we  have  seen, 
$400  goes  to  the  workingman  principally  under 
consideration.  There  remains,  then,  after  all  else 
has  been  accounted  for,  the  sum  of  $400.  What  is 
this?  Are  we  to  regard  it  as  the  profit  of  the 
manufacturer?  In  part,  yes;  but  in  part — no !  It 
is  profit,  true  enough,  but  it  is  gross  profit,  and 
out  of  it  must  come  the  cost  of  selling  and  of  up- 

To  get  some  notion  of  this  cost,  let  us  go  back 
to  our  cigar  factory.  We  saw  there,  you  will  re- 
call, that  a  cigar-maker  got  $6  a  thousand  for 
making  cigars,  and  that  the  raw  material,  brought 
to  his  table,  together  with  the  work  of  sorting  and 
packing  his  cigars  afterward,  cost  $16.  This 
made  the  cost  of  the  cigars,  so  far,  $22  a  thou- 
sand. The  employer,  let  us  say,  got  $30  a  thou- 
sand for  these  cigars  in  his  market,  and  his  gross 
profit  was  thus  $8  a  thousand.  But  was  his  actual 
profit  $8  ?  By  no  means !  It  cost  him,  to  begin, 
fully  $3  a  thousand  to  maintain  his  office  and  sell 
his  goods,  and  he  had  to  write  off  $1.50  more  for 
bad  bills,  and  another  dollar  or  so  for  those  ex- 
penses and  hazards  which  no  man  can  foresee. 

Men  vs.  the  Man  23 

Who  got  the  $3  charged  to  upkeep  and  selling 
costs?  Practically  every  cent,  I  believe,  went  to 
workingmen — to  coal  miners  for  digging  coal  for 
his  furnaces,  to  clerks  for  keeping  his  books,  to 
salesmen  for  visiting  his  customers,  to  locomotive 
engineers  for  hauling  his  salesmen,  to  hotel  cooks 
for  cooking  their  meals,  and  so  on  ad  infinitum. 
And  the  net  profit  that  remained — what  of  that? 
I  shall  show  you  some  day,  I  hope,  that  this  was 
wages,  too — the  wages  of  the  employer  him- 
self, paid  to  him  for  his  skill  at  managing  his 
capital,  for  his  skill  at  buying  raw  material 
cheaply,  and  at  inducing  customers  to  buy  his 
product,  and  for  his  skill,  finally,  at  cajoling  and 
coercing  his  workingmen  into  laboring  for  the  $6 
he  paid  them. 

Now,  to  what  have  all  of  our  figures  brought  us? 
Simply  to  this  fact :  that  the  $2,000  worth  of  goods 
produced  by  the  $400  workman  of  your  parable 
represents,  not  $400  worth  of  labor  plus  $1,600 
worth  of  inflation,  but  $400  worth  of  labor  plus 
at  least  $1,000  worth  of  other  labor.  The  $400 
man  may  be  the  principal  actor  in  the  drama,  and 
his  skill  may  be  the  principal  factor  in  the  con- 
version of  sunlight  and  human  energy  into  market- 
able commodities,  but  the  men  whose  toil  pre- 
pares his  raw  material  and  the  men  whose  toil 
makes  it  possible  for  him  to  work  at  peace  and 
sell  his  product  have  had  their  share,  too.  What 
remains  over,  after  all  of  them  have  been  paid,  is 

24  Men  vs.  the  Man 

very  little.  And  so  we  come  to  a  conclusion  which 
makes  all  of  your  argument  about  panics,  crises, 
and  changing  social  orders  vain,  and  it  is  this :  that, 
while  your  $400  workman  can  buy  back  but  $400 
worth  of  the  $2,000  worth  of  goods,  all  of  the 
workmen  who  have  had  a  hand  in  producing  it  are 
perfectly  able  to  buy  back,  with  their  collective 
wages,  nearly  all  of  it.  I  am  not  much  of  a  hand 
at  statistics,  but  I  venture  the  guess  that  in  every 
$1,000  worth  of  goods  produced  under  normal 
conditions  in  America  to-day,  fully  $800  represents 
the  wages  of  workmen.  Thus  your  original  sur- 
plus value  of  $1,600,  which  you  regard  with  such 
trembling  and  in  which  you  see  such  staggering 
portents,  shrinks,  on  cold  inspection,  to  $400 ! 

No  doubt  you  will  say  at  once,  as  a  good  Marx- 
ian, that  this  surplus  value,  whether  large  or  small, 
stands  for  capitalistic  exploitation  of  the  working- 
man,  and  that  as  such  it  is  an  evil.  You  may  even 
argue,  with  Marx,  that  its  evil  lies,  not  in  its  actual 
size,  bu*  in  its  very  existence — that  any  surplus 
value  is  immoral,  and  that  the  workingman  should 
get  all  he  produces.  I  shall  try  to  answer  this  in 
a  future  letter,  but  meanwhile  it  may  be  well  for 
me  to  record  my  earnest  and  enthusiastic  dissent. 
As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  possibility  of  exploiting 
the  workingman  seems  to  me  to  be  the  one  thing 
that  justifies  an  optimistic  view  of  human  progress. 
It  is  this  thing  that  gives  existence  a  goal  and  a 
zest.  It  is  this  that  insures  to  the  human  race  all 

Men  vs.  the  Man  25 

of  those  comforts  and  privileges  which  make  it  (at 
least  in  all  save  its  lowest  orders)  superior  to  the 
race  of  milch  cows.  It  is  this  that  gives  us  the 
agreeable  assurance  that,  however  passionately  we 
may  occasionally  embrace  altruism,  either  as  a 
religious  creed  or  as  a  political  doctrine,  we  are 
still  being  driven  forward  and  upward,  unceasingly 
and  willy-nilly,  by  the  irresistible  operation  of  the 
law  of  natural  selection. 

Your  facts  and  figures  puzzle  me  in  places  other 
than  the  one  we  have  been  considering,  not  be- 
cause they  seem  to  me  to  prove  anything,  but  be- 
cause I  find  it  utterly  impossible  to  put  any  faith  in 
their  accuracy.  You  say  in  one  paragraph,  for  in- 
stance: "  Economics  tell  us  that  with  all  our  male 
population  between  the  ages  of  twenty-five  and 
forty-five  working  three  to  four  hours  a  day,  we 
could  produce  enough  to  keep  our  whole  population 
in  such  comfort  as  to-day  requires  an  income  of 
$5,000  a  year."  Let  us  look  into  this  a  bit,  and 
see  what  it  means.  You  have  already  laid  it  down, 
you  will  recall,  that  the  average  American  workman 
earns  $400  a  year,  and  you  say  in  your  letter  that 
"  over  fifty  per  cent,  of  our  population  actually  be- 
long to  the  working  class."  Let  us  suppose  that 
the  number  is  exactly  fifty  per  cent,  and  that  each 
man  produces  $2,000  worth  of  goods  a  year,  as 
you  say. 

Well,  then,  you  propose  to  restrict  labor  to  those 
between  twenty-five  and  forty-five,  and  so  cut  our 

26  Men  vs.  the  Man 

working  force  in  two  by  making  idlers  of  those 
under  twenty-five  and  those  over  forty-five.  But 
at  the  same  time  you  propose  to  double  the  force 
that  remains  by  requiring  every  able-bodied  per- 
son of  the  fifty  per  cent,  now  idle,  between  twenty- 
five  and  forty-five  years  old,  to  join  the  workers. 
Thus  your  working  force  will  be  substantially  the 
same  as  it  is  at  present. 

But  you  then  propose  to  reduce  its  working  hours 
to  "  three  or  four  "  a  day,  and  so  divide  its  pro- 
ducing capacity  by  two.  What  will  be  the  result? 
Simply  that  your  workman's  yearly  output  will  be 
$1,000  worth  of  goods,  instead  of  $2,000  worth, 
as  at  present,  and  that  his  income,  even  supposing 
him  to  get  every  cent  of  it  back,  will  be  but  $1,000. 
On  $1,000  a  year  how  is  he  to  obtain  "  such  com- 
fort as  to-day  requires  an  income  of  $5,000?  " 

In  this  I  have  given  you  the  benefit  of  the  doubt 
at  every  step.  I  have  assumed,  for  instance,  that 
fifty  per  cent,  of  the  population  is  now  made  up  of 
idlers,  even  though  you  yourself  admit,  in  one 
place,  that  these  idlers  make  up  "  but  a  handful  of 
our  people."  I  have  assumed,  too,  that  Socialism 
could  achieve  the  impossible  feat  of  paying  for  the 
same  thing  twice — of  paying  the  farmer,  that  is, 
for  raising  tobacco,  and  then  paying  the  cigar- 
maker  for  raising  it.  I  have  assumed  everything 
you  could  desire,  and  yet  I  come  to  an  absurdity  at 
the  end. 

"  Economics  tell  us,"  you  say,  and  therein  I  see 

Men  vs.  the  Man  27 

your  fundamental  error.  You  have  too  much  faith 
in  the  so-called  science  of  economics,  and  you  ac- 
cept the  wildest  notions  of  its  most  extravagant 
sages  as  gospel  truth.  If  "  economics  tell  us  " 
that  our  present  army  of  workers,  working  half 
time,  will  be  able,  under  Socialism,  to  earn  twelve 
and  a  half  times  as  much  as  at  present — well,  then, 
it  is  high  time  to  demand  proofs.  My  personal 
view  is  that  no  such  proofs  exist.  The  whole 
idea,  in  a  word,  is  sheer  nonsense.  There  is  no 
more  ground  for  it,  in  the  actual  facts  of  existence, 
than  for  the  doctrine  that,  if  I  had  brown  eyes  in- 
stead of  blue,  I  would  be  a  Methodist  bishop  at 
$8,000  a  year. 

The  science  of  economics,  as  I  understand  it,  is 
based  upon  a  series  of  deductions  from  human 
experience.  These  deductions  vary  with  the  econ- 
omist's education,  environment,  religion,  and  poli- 
tics, and  are  often  irreconcilable.  In  those  de- 
partments of  the  science,  indeed,  in  which  the  most 
distinguished  professors  have  exercised  their  in- 
tellects, the  divergence  is  most  marked.  I  need 
only  refer,  in  support  of  this,  to  the  appalling 
debates  regarding  the  currency  which  break  forth 
every  now  and  then.  The  conclusion  a  layman 
must  necessarily  derive  from  these  debates  is  that 
the  vast  majority  of  experts  are  wrong.  This  con- 
clusion grows  firmer  on  reflection,  for  it  is  apparent 
that  each  economist's  fiscal  theory  is  but  the  deduc- 
tion he  has  personally  drawn  from  facts  open  to 

28  Men  vs.  the  Man 

all.  Therefore,  why  pay  too  much  heed  to  him  ? 
Why  not  examine  the  facts  themselves  and  evolve 
your  own  theories? 

You  may  reply  to  this  that  my  argument  is 
foolish,  and  that  its  application  to  any  other 
science — say  pathology,  for  instance — will  reveal 
its  fatuity.  My  answer  is  that  I  am  not  applying 
it  to  pathology,  for  the  facts  of  pathology  are,  in  a 
sense,  available  only  to  the  man  specially  trained 
to  observe  accurately.  The  facts  of  political  econ- 
omy, on  the  other  hand,  are  the  facts  of  every- 
day life.  If  my  meaning  is  not  clear,  let  me  direct 
your  attention  to  Adam  Smith's  Theory  of  Rents 
and  Ehrlich's  Theory  of  Immunity.  If  you  will 
find  me  one  man,  of  average  intelligence  and  edu- 
cation, who  fails  to  understand  Smith  at  his  first 
reading,  I  will  give  you  a  dollar.  If,  on  the  other 
hand,  you  find  me  one  man,  of  average  intelligence 
and  education,  who  understands  Ehrlich  on  a  first 
reading,  I  will  give  you  another  dollar.  The  one 
requires  only  a  reasonable  degree  of  sanity;  the 
other  requires  special  training  and  a  wealth  of 
actual  experience. 

For  these  reasons  I  am  chary  of  accepting 
economic  theories,  and  much  prefer  the  evidence  to 
the  verdict.  I  have  no  doubt  that  the  gentleman 
who  prepared  the  government  report  you  quote  was 
an  expert  hired  at  enormous  expense,  and  yet  I 
can't  rid  myself  of  the  notion  that  the  money  paid 
to  him  was  wasted. 

Men  vs.  the  Man  29 

But  I  must  have  done  with  this  series  of  ob- 
jections to  your  authorities,  else  this  letter  will  have 
exhausted  you  without  any  statement  of  the  creed 
I  propose  to  offer  in  opposition  to  Socialism.  This 
creed  consists,  first  and  last,  in  a  firm  belief  in 
the  beneficence  and  permanence  of  the  evolutionary 
process.  I  believe,  in  other  words,  that  the  human 
race  is  incomparably  the  highest  race  of  beings  at 
present  existing  in  the  world,  and  I  believe  further 
that,  as  the  years  come  and  go,  its  superiority  to 
the  lower  races  of  animals  is  growing  constantly 
greater.  I  believe  that  you  and  I  are  far  superior 
men,  in  many  ways,  to  our  great-grandfathers,  and 
that  our  superiority  over  Christopher  Columbus, 
Julius  Caesar,  and  Moses,  in  many  more  ways,  is  in- 

But  what  do  I  mean  by  superiority?  What,  in 
other  words,  is  my  definition  of  progress  ?  Natur- 
ally enough,  it  is  hard  to  frame  such  a  definition 
in  a  few  words,  but  I  may  throw  some  light  upon 
my  notion  of  the  thing  itself  by  showing  how  it  is 
to  be  measured.  Progress,  then,  as  I  see  it,  is 
to  be  measured  by  the  accuracy  of  man's  knowledge 
of  nature's  forces.  If  you  examine  this  sentence 
carefully  you  will  observe  that  I  conceive  progress 
as  a  sort  of  process  of  disillusion.  Man  gets 
ahead,  in  other  words,  by  discarding  the  theory  of 
to-day  for  the  fact  of  to-morrow.  Moses  believed 
that  the  earth  was  flat,  Caesar  believed  that  his 
family  doctor  could  cure  pneumonia,  and  Columbus 

30  Men  vs.  the  Man 

believed  that  devils  often  entered  into  harmless 
old  women  and  turned  them  into  witches,  and 
that  the  lightning  was  a  bomb  hurled  by  a  wrath- 
ful God  at  sinful  man.  You  and  I,  knowing 
that  all  three  of  these  distinguished  men  were 
wrong  in  their  beliefs,  are  their  superiors  to  that 

Now,  all  the  illusions  which  have  afflicted  the 
human  race  since  its  days  of  nonage  may  be  divided 
into  two  classes.  First  come  those  which  have 
arisen  out  of  the  imperfection  of  our  powers  of 
perception;  and  secondly  come  those  that  have 
arisen  out  of  errors  made  in  the  interpretation  of 
facts  accurately  observed.  An  excellent  example 
of  the  first  class  is  the  familiar  doctrine,  held  to- 
day by  the  ignorant,  and  until  very  recently  by 
all,  that  the  disease  called  malaria  is  caused  by 
breathing  impure  air.  Tested  by  the  evidence  of 
the  naked  eye,  this  doctrine  seemed  entirely  sound. 
But  by  and  by  men  began  to  use  microscopes  to  aid 
their  eyes,  and  one  day,  seized  by  a  happy  thought, 
an  enterprising  man  took  the  trouble  to  place  a 
drop  of  blood  from  a  malaria  patient's  veins  be- 
neath his  glass.  Since  then  the  old  doctrine  has 
been  put  aside  forever  by  all  whose  beliefs  are 
worth  hearing,  and  we  know  that  malaria  is  caused, 
not  by  impure  air,  but  by  various  minute  parasites 
of  the  class  of  sporozoa.  The  human  race,  within 
historic  times,  has  rejected  thousands  of  delusions 
of  this  class,  but  many  yet  remain.  As  we  perfect 

Men  vs.  the  Man  31 

apparatus  to  reinforce  our  dull  senses  they  will  go 
overboard,  one  by  one. 

The  delusions  and  illusions  of  the  second  class 
resolve  themselves  into  two  grand,  or  king  delu- 
sions. One  of  them  is  the  notion  that  a  human 
being,  by  his  words  or  acts,  is  capable  of  suspend- 
ing or  modifying  the  immutable  laws  which  govern 
the  universe.  The  other  is  the  notion  that  a  human 
being  is  able  to  make  laws  for  himself  which  shall 
have  the  force  of  the  immutable  laws  aforesaid. 
Out  of  the  first  of  these  delusions  springs  the 
doctrine  of  the  efficacy  of  prayer,  and  with  it  all  of 
the  world's  vast  and  bizarre  stock  of  religions. 
Out  of  the  second  springs  the  ancient  science  of 
morality,  with  all  its  multitude  of  efforts  to  com- 
bat the  eternal  and  inexorable  law  that  the  strong 
shall  prevail  over  the  weak.  The  latest  of  such 
efforts  is  comprehended  in  the  political  theory 
called  Socialism.  It  is  the  most  fatuous  of 
the  whole  lot,  for  it  proposes,  not  only  to  make 
human  laws  as  immutable  as  natural  laws,  but  actu- 
ally to  make  them  supersede  and  nullify  those 
natural  laws.  Here,  indeed,  we  behold  human  be- 
ings on  the  topmost  pinnacle  of  bombastic  folly.  I 
can  imagine  no  more  stupendous  egotism. 

In  this  you  may  perceive,  though  perhaps  only 
dimly,  for  my  exposition  may  be  none  too  clear, 
the  reasons  which  impel  me  to  decline  your  in- 
vitation to  join  your  crusade.  I  am  no  apologist 
for  the  existing  order  of  things.  Like  Huxley,  I 

32  Men  vs.  the  Man 

believe  that  the  management  of  the  universe  is  by 
no  means  perfect,  but  such  as  it  is,  we  must  ac- 
cept it.  If  you  point  out  that  human  progress,  as 
I  have  defined  it,  involves  the  practical  enslavement 
of  two-thirds  of  the  human  race,  my  answer  is 
that  I  can't  help  it.  If  you  point  out  that  a  slave 
always  runs  the  risk  of  being  oppressed  by  a  par- 
ticularly cruel  master,  I  answer  that  a  master  al- 
ways runs  the  risk  of  having  his  brains  knocked 
out  by  a  particularly  enterprising  slave.  If  you 
point  out  that,  by  my  scheme  of  progress,  it  is 
only  the  upper  stratum  that  actually  progresses,  I 
answer  that  only  the  upper  stratum  is  capable  of 
progressing  unaided. 

The  mob  is  inert  and  moves  ahead  only  when  it 
is  dragged  or  driven.  It  clings  to  its  delusions  with 
a  pertinacity  that  is  appalling.  A  geological  epoch 
is  required  to  rid  it  of  a  single  error,  and  it  is  so 
helpless  and  cowardly  that  every  fresh  boon  it  re- 
ceives, every  lift  upon  its  slow  journey  upward, 
must  come  to  it  as  a  free  gift  from  its  betters — 
as  a  gift  not  only  free,  but  also  forced.  Great  men 
have  fought  and  died  for  the  truth  for  a  thousand 
years,  and  yet  the  average  low-caste  white  man  of 
to-day,  throughout  Christendom,  still  believes  that 
Friday  is  an  unlucky  day,  still  believes  that  ghosts 
walk  the  earth,  and  still  holds  to  an  immovable 
faith  in  signs,  portents,  resurrections,  redemptions, 
miracles,  prophecies,  hells,  gehennas,  and  political 

Men  vs.  the  Man  33 

It  may  be  true  that  the  existing  order  of  things 
demands  bloody  human  sacrifices,  but,  so  far  as  I 
am  able  to  see  it,  the  thing  is  inevitable.  What- 
ever you  may  say  against  it,  you  cannot  deny  that 
the  existing  order  of  things  at  least  produces  prog- 
ress. It  produced,  for  instance,  a  Pasteur,  and  if, 
directly  and  indirectly,  in  the  course  of  long  ages, 
a  million  serfs  had  to  be  used  up  to  make  this 
Pasteur  possible,  I,  for  one,  believe  that  the  result 
was  worth  the  cost.  The  work  that  Pasteur  did 
in  the  world  put  the  clock  of  time  ahead  a  hundred 
years,  and  conferred  a  permanent  and  constantly 
cumulative  benefit  upon  the  whole  human  race, 
freeman  and  slave  alike,  now  and  forevermore. 
Would  the  lives  of  a  million  serfs  have  been  of 
equal  value?  Not  at  all!  They  would  have 
given  to  the  world  only  the  matter  and  energy  that 
they  took  out  of  it,  and  their  influence  on  progress, 
if  they  exerted  any  influence  at  all,  would  have 
been  reactionary. 

You  latter-day  Socialists  have  all  sorts  of  ex- 
cuses and  compromises  to  offer.  You  say,  for 
instance,  that  under  Socialism  the  Pasteurs  of  the 
world  would  be  cherished  and  encouraged  just  as 
much  as  under  the  law  of  natural  selection.  But 
the  objection  to  this  is  that,  after  two  generations 
of  Socialism,  there  would  be  no  more  Pasteurs. 
To  produce  the  things  the  world  needs  to-day  and 
to-morrow  we  must  have  workmen  who  toil.  But 
to  produce  the  things  that  will  make  the  world  a 

34  Men  vs.  the  Man 

hundred  years  hence  a  better  place  to  live  in  than 
the  world  of  to-day  we  must  have  men  who,  by  ex- 
ploiting, either  directly  or  indirectly,  the  work  of 
these  toilers,  may  have  the  ease  and  leisure  to 
make  great  plannings  and  to  find  out  great  truths. 
Yours  sincerely, 




I  have  derived  infinite  delight  from  your 
sanguine  letter.  Although  your  statistics  have 
confused  me  where  they  have  not  amused  me,  the 
latter  part  of  your  letter  has  made  my  future  task 
far  easier  by  helping  me  to  place  your  mental  posi- 
tion chronologically.  I  have  no  intention  of  being 
offensive  when  I  tell  you  that  you  appear  to  me  to 
belong  in  part  to  the  Greece  of  Pericles  and  in 
part  to  the  France  of  Diderot. 

When  you  assert  that  it  is  necessary  to  exploit 
and  dehumanize  millions  of  proletarians  in  order 
to  produce  here  and  there  a  Pasteur  or  two,  you 
merely  paraphrase  the  defense  of  human  slavery 
that  we  find  again  and  again,  now  explicit  and 
now  implicit,  in  the  works  of  Aristotle,  Plato,  and 
Xenophon.  In  their  mouths  the  argument  was  a 
good  one,  for  in  their  times  the  productivity  of 
human  labor  was  so  pitifully  small  that  only  by 
keeping  hordes  in  slavery  was  it  possible  for  any 
to  enjoy  the  leisure  requisite  for  the  attainment  of 
culture.  But,  though  you,  my  dear  Mencken,  live 
in  an  age  when  steam  and  electricity  have  been 
harnessed  by  man,  you  still  repeat  arguments  that 


36  Men  vs.  the  Man 

were  obsolescent  in  the  days  of  Cicero;  for  Antip- 
aros,  a  Greek  poet  of  that  era,  saw  in  the  inven- 
tion of  the  water-mill  the  promise  that  humanity 
might  be  freed  from  the  curse  of  slavery,  and  sang 
thus  in  praise  of  the  leisure  that  gracious  Demeter 
was  bestowing  upon  mankind : — 

"  Spare  the  arm  which  turns  the  mill,  O  millers, 
and  sleep  peacefully.  Let  the  cock  warn  you  in 
vain  that  the  day  is  breaking.  Demeter  has  im- 
posed upon  the  nymphs  the  labor  of  the  slaves, 
and  behold  them  leaping  merrily  over  the  wheel, 
and  behold  the  axle-tree,  shaken,  turning  with  its 
spokes  and  making  the  heavy-rolling  stone  revolve. 
Let  us  live  the  life  of  our  fathers,  and  let  us  re- 
joice in  idleness  over  the  gifts  that  the  Goddess 
grants  us." 

How  many  eons  does  it  take  for  a  Mencken 
to  catch  up  to  an  Antiparos? 

When  you  measure  progress  by  the  increase  of 
accurate  knowledge,  and  thus  apotheosize  human 
reason,  you  reproduce  perfectly  the  spirit  that 
animated  Rousseau  and  Diderot  and  the  great 
French  Encyclopedists.  In  the  words  of  Engels, 
"  the  French  philosophers  of  the  eighteenth  cen- 
tury, the  forerunners  of  the  Revolution,  appealed 
to  reason  as  the  sole  judge  of  all  that  is.  A  ra- 
tional government,  rational  society,  were  to  be 
founded;  everything  that  ran  counter  to  eternal 
reason  was  to  be  remorselessly  done  away  with." 
When  once  this  was  done,  all  would  be  for  the 

Men  vs.  the  Man  37 

best  in  the  best  of  all  possible  worlds.  This  was 
an  entirely  justifiable  conception  in  their  day.  But 
since  then  the  experiment  has  been  tried ;  the  French 
Revolution  has  turned  Christendom  upside  down, 
and  the  Third  Estate  has  been  enthroned  in  every 
civilized  land;  but  the  reality  attained  is  far  from 
corresponding  to  the  noble  dreams  of  the  great 
French  materialists  of  the  eighteenth  century. 
Most  of  us  have  learned  something  from  this  ex- 
perience, and  have  begun  to  suspect  that  human 
progress  is  more  dependent  upon  the  development 
of  the  processes  whereby  human  stomachs  are  filled 
and  human  backs  are  covered  than  it  is  upon  the 
increase  of  academic  knowledge.  But  you,  dear 
child  of  the  eighteenth  century,  continue  to  com- 
pose in  unruffled  serenity  your  charming  odes  to 
Eternal  Reason. 

Possibly  you  will  understand  now  why  I  smile 
when  I  read  your  profession  of  faith,  "  that  you 
and  I  are  far  superior  men,  in  many  ways,  to  our 
great-grandfathers,  and  that  our  superiority  over 
Christopher  Columbus,  Julius  Caesar,  and  Moses, 
in  many  more  ways,  is  infinite." 

Do  you  think  I  am  unreasonable  in  asking  this 
superior  twentieth  century  man  to  produce  some 
arguments  against  Socialism,  not  borrowed  bodily 
from  the  Greece  of  Pericles  and  the  France  of 

In  my  first  letter  I  introduced  a  few  figures 
merely  to  illustrate  and  make  plain  my  argument. 

38  Men  vs.  the  Man 

Your  letter  leads  me  to  believe  that  instead  of 
serving  the  purpose  I  had  intended,  they  have  on 
the  contrary  confused  you  and  obscured  my  argu- 
ment. This  is  not  to  be  wondered  at,  as  I  am  no 
statistician  and  have  always  found  figures  a  burden. 
In  order  to  make  my  position  quite  clear,  I  hope 
you  will  permit  me  to  recapitulate  my  argument 
without  figures. 

The  object  of  introducing  improved  methods 
of  production,  such  as  machinery,  is,  as  Antiparos 
clearly  saw  two  thousand  years  ago,  to  save  labor. 
If  the  work  done  by  any  given  machine  does  not 
cost  its  owner  less  than  it  would  cost  him  to  have 
the  same  labor  done  by  men  and  women  by  the 
former  methods,  the  machine  will  not  be  used. 
But,  in  a  society  where  the  different  producers  of 
goods  sell  competitively  on  the  market,  each  in- 
dividual owner  of  a  productive  plant  is  driven, 
whether  he  likes  or  not,  to  make  continuous  im- 
provements in  his  machinery.  If  he  does  not  he 
will  be  undersold  and  driven  into  bankruptcy. 
Every  such  improvement  means  an  increase  in  the 
product  relatively  to  the  wages  paid  out  in  that 
establishment,  so  that  the  proportion  of  the  total 
product  in  society  at  large,  that  is  in  excess  of  the 
quantity  that  the  wage-earners  are  able  to  pur- 
chase for  their  own  consumption,  is  growing  and 
must  continue  to  grow  until  it  eventually  reaches 
such  proportions  as  to  compel  a  Social  Revolution. 
The  more  developed  is  the  mechanical  equipment, 

Men  vs.  the  Man  39 

the  industrial  technique  of  a  country,  the  larger 
becomes  the  proportion  of  the  national  produce 
that  the  working-class  are  unable  to  purchase;  in 
other  words,  the  smaller  becomes  the  fraction  of 
their  own  product  that  the  workers  receive.  For 
this  reason  the  workers  of  England  and  Germany 
receive  a  far  smaller  fraction  of  the  product  of 
their  labor  than  do  the  workers  of  the  compara- 
tively backward  countries,  such  as  Italy,  Spain,  and 
Portugal;  and  the  American  workers  of  1908  are 
able  to  buy  a  much  smaller  fraction  of  the  product 
of  their  labor  than  could  the  American  workers 
of  1850.  You  will  kindly  note  that  I  did  not  ad- 
vance in  my  former  letter,  and  I  do  not  advance 
now,  any  argument  based  on  the  immorality  of 
such  an  arrangement.  I  would  think  as  readily  of 
questioning  the  morality  of  the  law  of  gravitation. 
It  matters  very  little  to  my  argument  just  what 
the  exact  share  of  the  workers  may  be  at  any  given 
time,  but  what  my  argument  is  based  on  is  the 
constant  decrease  in  the  ratio  between  the  pur- 
chasing power  of  the  working-class  and  the  value 
of  the  total  national  product;  and  this  ratio 
must  decrease  as  long  as  we  continue  to  im- 
prove our  machinery,  and  competition  makes  such 
improvement  of  our  industrial  technique  impera- 
tive. As  I  said  in  my  first  letter,  it  is  the  "  pro- 
gressive and  inexorable  change  in  the  technical 
composition  of  capital  that  makes  a  Social  Rev- 
olution inevitable." 

40  Men  vs.  the  Man 

The  figures  as  to  average  wages  and  product 
per  worker  that  I  used  for  illustrative  purposes 
in  my  former  letter  were  quoted  by  memory  from 
Tables  i  and  2  in  Census  Bulletin  No.  150  (Sec- 
ond edition,  September  15,  1902).  This  Bulletin 
No.  150  is  based  on  manufactures  alone,  and  shows 
the  average  wages  to  be  $432,  and  the  product  per 
worker  to  be  something  in  excess  of  $2,000.  The 
figures  in  these  census  bulletins  are  gathered 
chiefly  to  show  the  growth  of  industry,  and  for 
other  commercial  purposes,  and  not  to  meet  the 
needs  of  economic  study,  so  that  it  is  somewhat 
difficult,  if  not  impossible,  to  ascertain  just  what 
elements  other  than  the  new  value  added  by  the 
worker  this  $2,000  contains.  Lucien  Sanial,  of 
Northport,  Long  Island,  one  of  our  ablest  statisti- 
cians, has  made  a  careful  study  of  the  census  of 
1900  in  connection  with  Bradstreet's  and  Dun's 
reports,  and  other  sources,  and  his  conclu- 
sion is  that  our  total  product  in  1900  was 
$24,500,000,000,  and  the  total  value  of  the  labor- 
power  used  in  its  production,  $5,815,000,000,  and 
that  the  portion  of  the  product  that  Labor  was  in 
a  position  to  purchase  was  23.74  per  centum. 

It  should  be  remembered  that  the  workers  pur- 
chase everything  at  the  very  highest  retail  prices, 
while  the  value  of  product  given  in  the  census  is 
based  on  factory  prices;  so  that  in  order  to  ascer- 
tain how  much  of  the  product  the  workers  can 
purchase,  one  must  add  to  the  census  valuation 

Men  vs.  the  Man  41 

of  the  product  a  certain  percentage  to  cover  the 
cost  of  transporting  the  product  to  market  and 
the  costs  of  distribution  in  the  form  of  wholesale 
and  retail  profits.  I  have  found  by  calculation 
that  the  percentage  thus  added  by  Mr.  Sanial  was 
forty-two  per  cent.  Using  this  percentage,  I  have 
figured  from  Census  Bulletin  No.  150  the  work- 
ers' share  of  the  total  value  of  our  manufactured 
product  at  every  decade  from  1850  to  1900. 
Even  if  this  percentage  is  not  accurate,  it  does 
not  vitiate  my  conclusion  that  the  share  of  the 
workers  is  decreasing,  for  the  calculation  for  each 
tenth  year  is  made  on  exactly  the  same  basis. 
Here  are  my  results  tabulated : — 

Percentage  of  product  workers  could  purchase  in  1850. .  36.1 

1860..  31.2 

1870..  31.3 

1880..  33-7 

1800..  30.5 

1900..  27.0 

You  will  of  course  at  once  note  that  the  work- 
ers' share  rose  2.4  per  centum  in  the  decade  from 
1870  to  1880,  but  if  we  turn  to  the  figures  for 
capital  invested  in  manufacture,  we  will  find  that 
in  that  decade  the  capital  invested  only  rose  from 
$2,118,208,769  to  $2,790,272,606,  which  was 
scarcely  enough  to  keep  abreast  of  the  growth  of 
population,  so  that  as  a  matter  of  fact  there  was 
little,  if  any,  advance  in  industrial  technique  dur- 

42  Men  vs.  the  Man 

ing  that  decade,  while  in  the  decade  from  1850  to 
1860,  when  Labor's  share  decreased  nearly  five 
per  centum,  the  capital  invested  nearly  doubled, 
growing  from  $533>245»35I  to  $1,009,855,715, 
showing  a  tremendous  improvement  in  machinery. 
I  have  no  idea  that  these  figures  are  strictly  cor- 
rect, but  I  think  that  they  do  show  beyond  cavil 
that  the  purchasing  power  of  the  working-class 
is,  to  say  the  least,  growing  constantly  more  in- 
adequate to  perform  its  economic  function  in  a 
society  based  on  private  ownership  of  the  means  of 
production.  If  we  take  the  figures  for  particular 
industries,  the  same  result  is  more  strikingly 
brought  out.  Fred  D.  Warren  of  Girard,  Kansas, 
has  extracted  from  the  "  Eighteenth  Annual  Re- 
port of  the  Commissioner  of  Labor  "  the  follow- 
ing information  in  regard  to  the  pig-iron  industry : 

1870  1880  1890  1900 

Product  per  man  (in  tons) ...        66  81  260  395 

Average  wages  $453  $304  $460  $506 

Average     profit     made     from 

each  worker    $322  $360  $405  $900 

I  take  it  that  pig-iron  is  a  far  more  typical  mod- 
ern industry  than  is  the  cigar-making  industry, 
which  you  discuss,  as  the  latter  has  been  far  less 
revolutionized  by  machinery  and  chemistry.  At 
any  rate,  I  do  not  feel  competent  to  enter  upon 
a  discussion  of  the  cigar  business,  as  my  only  con- 
nection with  it  has  been  that  of  a  consumer — 

Men  vs.  the  Man  43 

when  Fortune  smiled — and  you  give  no  source  of 
your  statistics  save  your  own  experience;  so  that  I 
am  compelled  to  leave  this  field  to  you. 

You  will,  I  think,  admit  that  by  the  methods  of 
economists  and  statisticians  I  have  shown  that 
there  is  a  growing  surplus  of  goods,  and  that  the 
disposition  of  this  surplus  constitutes  a  very  real 
difficulty,  even  if  you  are  not  ready  to  admit  that 
it  is  of  itself  sufficient  to  compel  a  Social  Revolu- 
tion. But,  curiously  enough,  you,  the  panegyrist 
of  Eternal  Reason,  who  measure  progress  by  the 
growth  of  accurate  knowledge,  distrust  this  same 
human  intelligence  when  it  is  applied  to  economics 
and  sociology,  and  would  appear  to  hold  that  in 
this  one  domain  more  credence  is  to  be  given  to  the 
man  in  the  street  than  to  the  man  with  trained  in- 
telligence who  has  devoted  years  to  the  study  of 
these  very  questions.  I  am  free  to  admit  that  it 
is  rather  disconcerting  for  an  opponent  of  Social- 
ism who  looks  for  the  increase  of  knowledge  to 
bring  about  a  Nietzschean  millennium  to  find  that 
knowledge  of  economics  is  in  inverse  ratio  to 
prejudice  against  Socialism — that  as  the  former 
rises,  the  latter  melts  away.  But  this  seems  to 
be  the  sad  fact.  Listen  to  this  tale  of  woe  poured 
out  not  long  ago  by  Leslie  M.  Shaw,  ex-Secre- 
tary of  the  Treasury,  at  an  alumni  dinner  of 
Dickinson  College  at  the  Hotel  Saint  Denis  in 
New  York. 

"  Socialism  is  being  taught  on  every  hand,  and 

44  Men  vs.  the  Man 

I  am  alarmed  by  the  general  trend  of  things  in 
this  connection.  At  our  Chautauquas  the  lecturers 
are  all  preaching  the  doctrine.  Teachers  of  So- 
ciology in  our  schools  and  colleges  are  doing  the 
same  thing.  With  a  few  exceptions,  they  are  So- 
cialists, as  you  can  find  out  by  a  few  moments  of 
conversation  with  them;  and  the  exceptions  are 

"  Our  public  libraries  are  full  of  socialistic  lit- 
erature. Why,  in  a  large  city  recently,  where 
there  was  a  strike,  the  reading-room  was  packed 
day  after  day  with  all  kinds  of  people.  When  the 
librarian  was  asked  what  they  were  reading,  he 
replied :  *  Socialism,  every  one  of  them.  There  is 
not  a  book  on  Socialism  in  any  language  that  is  not 

"  Sociology,  as  it  is  taught  in  our  colleges,  is 
nothing  more  than  a  fad — and  a  dangerous  one, 
too.  You  cannot  build  up  men's  minds  with  fads. 
Mr.  Wilshire,  the  socialistic  editor,  recently  asked 
a  friend  of  mine  if  he  would  arrange  for  a  joint 
debate  on  Socialism  with  a  professor  in  one  of  our 
large  universities.  When  my  friend  went  to  the 
professor,  the  latter  said: 

"  *  No,  I  won't  debate  on  Socialism,  because 
Wilshire  and  I  agree.' 

"  Even  the  pulpit  nowadays  reflects  some  so- 
cialistic doctrines,  and  it  is  too  bad." 

No  doubt  Mr.  Shaw  would  agree  with  you 
that  the  troublesome  "  surplus  "  of  goods  about 

Men  vs.  the  Man  45 

which  I  "  and  the  government  statisticians  dis- 
course in  such  alarm  is  almost  entirely  an  academic 
myth  " ;  that,  in  a  word,  "  it  has  no  actual  ex- 
istence, save  in  small  part,"  that  "  outside  of  books 
on  political  economy  it  is  never  heard  of."  But 
both  you  and  he  would  have  to  admit  that  Chaun- 
cey  M.  Depew's  reputation  for  virginal  ignorance 
of  economics  is  spotless,  and  yet  Senator  Depew 
in  what  many  of  his  fellow-citizens  call  "  his  great 
speech  "  at  the  Republican  Convention  of  1900  in 
Philadelphia,  that  renominated  President  McKin- 
ley,  said:  "We  produce  in  this  great  country  of 
ours  every  year  $2,500,000,000  more  of  goods 
than  we  can  consume."  It  seems  that  knowledge 
of  the  existence  of  that  surplus  had  leaked  out- 
side of  purely  academic  circles  eight  years  ago. 
And  the  New  York  Sun  of  December  20,  1908, 
contained  a  long  letter  from  Berlin,  explaining 
that  the  reason  there  had  been  at  that  time  so 
much  adverse  criticism  of  the  Kaiser  was  that  Ger- 
many had  been  passing  through  a  severe  business 
crisis,  and  that  therefore  many  indiscreet  acts  of 
his  majesty  that  would  have  been  passed  over 
lightly  in  prosperous  times  had  been  the  target 
for  the  most  venomous  attacks.  Here  is  one 
sentence  from  this  letter  which  I  commend  to  your 
careful  attention :  "  Existing  markets  are  crowded 
with  wares  for  which  there  are  no  profitable 

In  Germany  it  would  appear  that  even  news- 

46  Men  vs.  the  Man 

papermen  had  heard  of  this  troublesome  surplus, 
which,  in  the  opinion  of  the  writer  of  the  Sun  let- 
ter, must  sooner  or  later  drive  Germany  into  a 
war  with  England  in  her  desperate  struggle  to 
find  an  outlet  into  which  she  can  pour  this  plethora 
of  commodities. 

I  think  it  is  now  evident  that  knowledge  of  this 
pestilential  superabundance  is  not  confined  to 
economists,  statisticians,  and  Socialists.  I  think 
that  the  figures  I  have  already  given  you  prove  it 
to  be  a  most  pregnant  reality.  It  may  be  well  for 
me  to  say  that  in  preparing  my  figures  of  the 
workers'  share  of  the  product  of  our  manufactur- 
ing industries  for  1850,  1860,  1870,  1880,  1890, 
and  1900,  I,  in  every  instance,  deducted  from  the 
total  value  of  the  product  as  given  in  the  Census, 
first,  the  value  of  the  partially  manufactured  goods 
used  as  materials  in  those  industries,  and,  second, 
the  value  of  the  true  raw  materials  used  in  them, 
so  that  my  figures  represented  as  nearly  as  possible 
nothing  but  the  new  value  added  by  the  workers  in 
the  process  of  manufacture.  But,  if  you  will  still 
remain  skeptical  about  the  real  existence  of  this 
"  academic  myth,"  permit  me  to  quote  to  you  a 
few  figures  from  the  "  Fifth  Annual  Report  of  the 
United  States  Steel  Corporation  for  the  Fiscal 
Year  ended  December  31,  1906,"  which,  thanks 
to  the  kindness  of  Fred  D.  Warren,  is  lying  be- 
fore me  as  I  write. 

From  page  5,  I  quote: 

Men  vs.  the  Man  47 

"  The  total  net  earnings  of  all  properties  after 
deducting  expenditures  for  ordinary  repairs  and 
maintenance  (approximately  $28,000,000),  em- 
ployees1 bonus  funds,  and  also  interest  on  bonds 
and  fixed  charges  of  the  subsidiary  companies, 
amounted  to — $156,624,273. 18." 

On  page  24  the  average  number  of  employees 
for  the  same  year  (1906)  on  all  the  properties 
of  the  Corporation  is  given  as  202,457,  and  the 
total  annual  salaries  and  wages  as  $147,765,540. 

If  you  add  together  the  net  profits  (from  which 
you  will  note  all  possible  deductions  have  been 
made),  and  the  wages  (which  include  the  princely 
salaries  of  the  Steel  Trust  officials),  you  will  find 
that  the  profits  are  51.46  per  cent,  of  the  whole 
and  the  wages  are  48.54  per  cent. 

Of  course  the  Steel  Trust  profits  are  figured 
on  the  basis  of  factory  prices  for  the  product, 
which  accounts  for  this  apparently  high  ratio  of 
the  workers'  share  to  the  total.  Allowing  for  this 
fact,  these  figures  agree  fairly  closely  with  those 
for  our  manufactures  in  general  which  I  have 
made  above  from  Bulletin  150. 

But  I  care  not  what  the  exact  percentage  may 
be.  The  fact  that  this  Steel  Trust  report  estab- 
lishes beyond  a  peradventure  is  that  there  is  a  tre- 
mendous surplus  to  be  marketed. 

In  discussing  the  cigar  business,  after  allowing 
for  "  interest  upon  the  employer's  capital,  the 
cost  of  selling  the  goods,  the  cost  of  light,  heat, 

48  Men  vs.  the  Man 

taxes,  and  the  cost  of  rent "  and  various  other 
items  you  say:  "Whatever  is  left  over  represents 
the  employer's  reasonable  wage  for  his  enterprise, 
industry,  and  skill.  As  I  hope  to  show  you  later 
on,  this  wage  is  as  much  a  true  wage  as  the  work- 
man's, no  matter  how  large  it  may  be." 

Let  me  call  your  attention  to  the  fact  that 
every  particle  of  "  enterprise,  industry,  and  skill  " 
used  in  managing  and  superintending  the  vast  busi- 
ness of  the  Steel  Trust  is  furnished  by  salaried 
employees,  and  that  those  salaries  for  "  enterprise, 
industry,  and  skill  "  are  included  in  the  wage  ac- 
count I  have  quoted,  and  that  after  this  "  true 
wage,"  as  you  call  it,  has  been  paid  in  full  and 
most  liberally,  our  old  friend  "  the  Troublesome 
Surplus "  still  stands  there,  with  undiminished 
girth,  smiling  at  us,  and  asking,  "  Well,  and  what 
are  you  going  to  do  with  me?"  Do  you  not 
think  he  is  entitled  to  a  serious  answer? 

The  answer  our  captains  of  industry  have  been 
making  for  the  past  few  years,  as  I  pointed  out  in 
my  former  letter,  has  been  to  devote  capital  more 
and  more  to  the  improvement  and  enlargement  of 
what  we  may  call  our  permanent  industrial  and 
transportation  plant,  but  while  this  effectively  re- 
lieves the  symptoms  of  distress  for  the  time  being, 
it  unfortunately  aggravates  the  disease  in  the  long 
run  by  facilitating  production  and  transportation. 
There  are  two  other  answers  you  may  be  tempted 
to  make:  one  is  that  it  is  possible  for  the  leisure 

Men  vs.  the  Man  49 

class  to  increase  its  wasteful  expenditure  suffi- 
ciently to  meet  the  requirements  of  the  case,  the 
other  is  that  war  and  calamity  may  intervene 
and  cause  an  adequate  destruction  of  goods.  Pro- 
fessor Thorstein  Veblen  has  discussed  both  of  these 
possible  remedies  very  interestingly  in  his  remark- 
able book,  "  The  Theory  of  Business  Enterprise  " 
(Scribners',  New  York,  1904).  His  conclusions 
are  that  it  is  out  of  the  question  for  private  ex- 
travagance and  waste  to  be  raised  to  an  adequate 
pitch,  but  that  we  may  look  hopefully  to  war  and 
calamity  as  palliatives. 

"  The  persistent  defection  of  reasonable  profits," 
he  says,  in  discussing  the  former  point,  "  calls  for 
a  remedy.  The  remedy  may  be  sought  in  one  or 
the  other  of  two  directions :  ( i )  in  an  increased  un- 
productive consumption  of  goods;  or  (2)  in  an 
elimination  of  that  '  cutthroat '  competition  that 
keeps  profits  below  the  *  reasonable '  level.  If 
enough  of  the  work  or  of  the  output  is  turned  to 
wasteful  expenditures,  so  as  to  admit  of  but  a 
relatively  slight  aggregate  saving,  as  counted  by 
weight  and  tale,  profitable  prices  can  be  main- 
tained on  the  old  basis  of  capitalization.  If  the 
waste  is  sufficiently  large,  the  current  investment 
in  industrial  equipment  will  not  be  sufficient  to 
lower  prices  appreciably  through  competition. 

"  Wasteful  expenditure  on  a  scale  adequate  to 
offset  the  surplus  productivity  of  modern  industry 
is  nearly  out  of  the  question.  Private  initiative 

50  Men  vs.  the  Man 

cannot  carry  the  waste  of  goods  and  services  to 
nearly  the  point  required  by  the  business  situation. 
Private  waste  is  no  doubt  large,  but  business  prin- 
ciples, leading  to  saving  and  shrewd  investment, 
are  too  ingrained  in  the  habits  of  modern  men  to 
admit  an  effective  retardation  of  the  rate  of  saving. 
Something  more  to  the  point  can  be  done,  and  in- 
deed is  being  done,  by  the  civilized  governments 
in  the  way  of  effectual  waste.  Armaments,  pub- 
lic edifices,  courtly  and  diplomatic  establishments, 
and  the  like,  are  almost  altogether  wasteful,  so  far 
as  bears  on  the  present  question. 

"  The  waste  of  time  and  effort  that  goes  into 
military  service,  as  well  as  the  employment  of  the 
courtly,  diplomatic,  and  ecclesiastical  personnel, 
counts  effectually  in  the  same  direction.  But  how- 
ever extraordinary  this  public  waste  of  substance 
latterly  has  been,  it  is  apparently  altogether  in- 
adequate to  offset  the  surplus  productivity  of  the 
machine  industry,  particularly  when  this  productiv- 
ity is  seconded  by  the  great  facility  which  the  mod- 
ern business  organization  affords  for  the  accumula- 
tion of  savings  in  relatively  few  hands.  There  is 
also  the  drawback  that  the  waste  of  time  involved 
in  military  service  reduces  the  purchasing  power  of 
the  classes  that  are  drawn  into  the  service,  and  so 
reduces  the  amount  of  wasteful  consumption  which 
these  classes  might  otherwise  accomplish. 

"  So  long  as  industry  remains  at  its  present  level 
of  efficiency,  and  especially  so  long  as  incomes  con- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  51 

tinue  to  be  distributed  somewhat  after  the  present 
scheme,  waste  cannot  be  expected  to  overtake  pro- 
duction, and  can  therefore  not  check  the  untoward 
tendency  to  depression."  (Pages  255-258.) 

But  what  waste  is  unable  to  do  for  us,  war 
fortunately  has  proved  itself  able  to  accomplish. 
But  is  the  present  generation  of  men,  who,  you 
tell  us,  are  infinitely  superior  to  Christopher  Co- 
lumbus, Julius  Caesar,  and  Moses,  going  to  re- 
main long  contented  with  a  system  that  depends 
for  its  perpetuation  on  the  frequent  recurrence  of 
war,  fire,  earthquake,  and  calamity? 

What  war  has  done  for  us  of  late  is  well  brought 
out  by  Veblen  in  the  following  passage  :— 

"  Since  the  seventies  as  an  approximate  date 
and  as  applying  particularly  to  America  and  in  a 
less  degree  to  Great  Britain,  the  course  of  affairs 
in  business  has  apparently  taken  a  permanent 
change  as  regards  crises  and  depression.  iDuring 
this  recent  period,  and  with  increasing  persistency, 
chronic  depression  has  been  the  rule  rather  than 
the  exception  in  business.  Seasons  of  easy  times, 
*  ordinary  prosperity,'  during  this  period  are  pretty 
uniformly  traceable  to  specific  causes  extraneous 
to  the  process  of  industrial  business  proper.  In 
one  case,  the  early  nineties,  it  seems  to  have  been 
a  peculiar  crop  situation,  and  in  the  most  notable 
case  of  a  speculative  inflation,  the  one  now 
(1904)  apparently  drawing  to  a  close,  it  was  the 
Spanish-American  War,  coupled  with  the  ex- 

52  Men  vs.  the  Man 

penditures  for  stores,  munitions,  and  services 
incident  to  placing  the  country  on  a  war  footing, 
that  lifted  the  depression  and  brought  prosperity 
to  the  business  community.  If  the  outside 
stimulus  from  which  the  present  prosperity  takes 
its  impulse  be  continued  at  an  adequate  pitch,  the 
season  of  prosperity  may  be  prolonged;  otherwise 
there  seems  little  reason  to  expect  any  other  out- 
come than  a  more  or  less  abrupt  and  searching 
liquidation."  (Pages  250-251.) 

This  was  written  in  1904.  We  were  soon 
blessed  with  the  Russo-Japanese  War,  the  San 
Francisco  Earthquake,  and  the  Baltimore  Fire,  so 
that  the  "  stimulus  "  was  "  continued  at  an  ade- 
quate pitch,"  and  the  "  season  of  prosperity  "  was 
"prolonged"  until  November,  1907,  when  there 
occurred  "  a  more  or  less  abrupt  and  searching 
liquidation."  In  spite  of  his  unfortunate  handi- 
cap of  an  unusually  thorough  knowledge  of  politi- 
cal economy,  do  you  not  think  Professor  Veblen 
was  able  to  make  a  fairly  accurate  analysis  of  the 

Relying  upon  my  own  far  more  limited  knowl- 
edge of  economics,  I  have  no  hesitation  in  predict- 
ing that  the  present  period  of  depression  will  last 
at  least  seven  years  unless  (i)  in  the  meantime 
the  "  increase  of  accurate  knowledge  "  or  the  hard 
facts  of  adversity  lead  us  to  establish  the  Co- 
operative Commonwealth,  or  (2)  unless  a  great 
war,  such  as  the  Sun  (N.  Y.)  Berlin  correspond- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  53 

ent  suggests  between  Germany  and  England,  breaks 
out.  I  confess  the  second  alternative  appears  to 
me  to  be  far  the  more  probable. 

This  letter  is  already  so  unconscionably  long  that 
I  can  but  touch  upon  the  question  of  the  prob- 
able hours  of  labor  and  the  standard  of  comfort 
in  the  society  of  the  future.  In  my  former  let- 
ter I  suggested  that  from  three  to  four  hours  a 
day  with  all  the  male  population  between  the  ages 
of  twenty-five  and  forty-five  working  usefully 
would  suffice  to  keep  all  our  people  in  such  com- 
fort as  to-day  requires  an  income  of  $5,000  a 
year.  This  arouses  your  incredulity,  naturally 
enough,  and  you  devote  several  pages  to  proving 
its  impossibility.  Perhaps  I  should  have  made  it 
plainer  that  I  had  in  mind  the  income  per  family, 
and  not  per  capita.  But,  had  I  done  so,  I  doubt 
not  my  statement  would  have  appeared  scarcely 
less  incredible  to  you.  One  fundamental  difficulty 
is  that  the  life  of  the  future — such  a  life  as  is 
pictured  in  William  Morris'  "  News  from  No- 
where "  —is  in  all  respects  so  different  from  life 

"  In  the  days  of  the  years  we  dwell  in, 
that  wear  our  lives  away," 

that  the  two  quantities  are  really  incommensurable, 
but  I  can  think  of  no  feasible  way  of  giving  you 
an  idea  of  the  standard  of  comfort  that  I  believe 
will  be  universal  in  "  the  wonderful  days  a-coming 

54  Men  vs.  the  Man 

when  all  shall  be  better  than  well  "  save  by  suggest- 
ing in  dollars  an  income  that  enables  an  American 
family  to-day  to  approach  a  similar  standard  of 
comfort  and  well-being — I  say  "  approach,"  be- 
cause I  do  not  believe  any  income,  however  large, 
will  to-day  make  possible  the  joy  of  living  that 
will  be  world-wide  in  the  wonderful  days  to  be. 
My  own  opinion  is  that  in  my  former  letter  I 
named  too  low  a  figure.  In  many  of  our  cities  to- 
day it  takes  $5,000  a  year  to  pay  the  rent  of 
such  a  house  as  every  family  ought  to  demand. 

The  trouble  with  your  mathematical  demonstra- 
tion of  my  folly  is  that  you  make  no  allowance  for 
the  amount  of  labor  that  is  now  wasted  by  the 
anarchy  of  our  competitive  system.  The  simplest 
illustration  of  this  is  the  oft-used  milk-business. 
Count  the  number  of  wagons  delivering  milk  on 
your  block  some  morning,  and  compare  it  with  the 
number  of  postmen  delivering  letters,  and  you  will 
begin  to  form  some  faint  idea  of  the  vast  aggregate 
of  unnecessary  labor  that  is  being  done  to-day.  I 
believe  it  impossible  to  estimate  exactly  the  quan- 
tity of  this  wasted  labor  that  could  be  eliminated 
under  a  co-operative  system.  Sidney  A.  Reeve, 
in  his  book  "The  Cost  of  Competition  "  (New 
York:  McClure,  Phillips  &  Co.,  1906),  states  that 
the  amount  of  labor  thus  wasted  is  at  least  double 
that  actually  usefully  employed  in  production.  I 
do  not  vouch  for  the  accuracy  of  this  calculation, 
but  I  am  sure  you  will  feel  the  more  inclined  to 

Men  vs.  the  Man  55 

give  it  credence  when  I  gladly  assure  you  that  Mr. 
Reeve  is  not  an  economist.  I  have  ascertained  by 
reference  to  "  Who's  Who  "  that  he  was  Professor 
of  Steam  and  Hydraulic  Engineering  at  Wor- 
cester Polytechnic  Institute  from  1896  to  1906, 
and  Lecturer  on  Steam  Engineering  at  Har- 
vard University  in  1907.  These  subjects  would 
seem  to  me  to  require  an  aptitude  for  acquiring 
your  summum  bonum,  accurate  knowledge. 

Another  vast  economy  we  will  make,  and  that 
you  did  not  take  into  consideration,  is  to  close  up 
all  the  smaller  and  more  poorly  equipped  plants, 
and  do  all  our  work  in  the  most  perfect  plants  that 
science  can  devise.  The  trusts  have  already  be- 
gun this  process  for  us.  The  Sugar  Trust  closed 
up  about  seventy-five  per  cent,  of  the  plants  it  con- 
trolled a  few  years  ago,  and  the  Whiskey  Trust 
put  out  of  operation  sixty-eight  distilleries  out  of 
eighty.  It  is  impossible  to  set  a  limit  to  the  econ- 
omy possible  in  this  direction. 

I  believe  it  impossible  to  prove  my  estimate  ac- 
curate, but  I  feel  sure  that  a  very  little  thought 
along  the  lines  I  have  suggested  will  convince  you 
that  it  is  distinctly  moderate. 

Professor  Hertzka  of  Austria  some  years  ago 
in  his  "  Laws  of  Social  Evolution "  calculated 
what  the  (then)  22,000,000  people  of  Austria 
might  do,  if  properly  organized. 

"  It  takes,"  he  estimates,  "  26,250,000  acres  of 
agricultural  land,  and  7,500,000  of  pasturage,  for 

56  Men  vs.  the  Man 

all  agricultural  products.  Then  I  allowed  a  house 
to  be  built  for  every  family,  consisting  of  five 
rooms.  I  found  that  all  industries,  agriculture, 
architecture,  building,  flour,  sugar,  coal,  iron,  ma- 
chine-building, and  chemical  production,  need 
615,000  laborers  employed  eleven  hours  per  day, 
300  days  a  year,  to  satisfy  every  imaginable  want 
for  22,000,000  inhabitants. 

"These  615,000  laborers  are  only  12.3  per 
cent,  of  the  population  able  to  do  work,  excluding 
women  and  all  persons  under  sixteen  or  over  fifty 
years  of  age;  all  these  latter  to  be  considered  as 
not  able. 

"  Should  all  the  5,000,000  able-bodied  men  in 
the  country  be  engaged  in  work,  instead  of  615,000, 
they  need  only  to  work  36.9  days  every  year  to 
produce  everything  needed  for  the  support  of  the 
population  of  Austria.  But  should  the  5,000,000 
work  all  the  year,  say  300  days — which  they  would 
probably  have  to  do  to  keep  the  supply  fresh  in 
every  department — each  one  would  only  work  one 
hour  and  twenty-two  and  a  half  minutes  per  day. 

"  But  to  engage  to  produce  all  the  luxuries,  in 
addition,  would  take,  in  round  figures,  1,000,000 
workers,  classed  and  assorted  as  above,  or  only 
twenty  per  cent,  of  all  those  able,  excluding  every 
woman,  or  every  person  under  sixteen  or  over 
fifty,  as  before.  The  5,000,000  able,  strong  male 
members  could  produce  everything  imaginable  for 
the  whole  nation  of  22,000,000  in  two  hours  and 

Men  vs.  the  Man  57 

twelve   minutes   per   day,    working    300    days   a 

It  is  nearly  impossible  to  judge  of  the  accuracy 
of  such  an  estimate,  but  there  are  some  accurate 
data  forthcoming  to  show  what  we  could  do  in 
this  country.  J.  L.  Franz  has  shown  by  figures 
taken  from  the  "  Thirteenth  Annual  Report  of  the 
Commissioner  of  Labor  "  for  1898  (Washington, 
1899)  that  by  using  the  methods  actually  used 
on  the  big  western  wheat  farms  in  1898,  to  pro- 
duce the  wheat  (350,000,000  bushels)  actually 
used  for  home  consumption  in  1898,  would  have 
required  only  the  labor  of  1,000,000  persons  work- 
ing one  hour  a  day  on  every  week-day  of  the 
year.  (See  International  Socialist  Review,  Vol.  I, 


Work  to-day  is  such  a  curse  that  it  is  very 
natural  and  pardonable  to  hail  extremely  short 
hours  of  labor  as  the  chiefest  of  blessings,  but  we 
err  in  doing  so,  for,  as  my  good  friend,  Henry  L. 
Slobodin  of  New  York,  reminded  me  in  a  letter 
the  other  day,  "  those  who  emphasize  the  short 
hours  of  labor  which  will  be  necessary  in  future 
society  as  a  great  advantage  miss  the  point  of  the 
Socialist  position.  The  modern  Socialist's  position 
is  that  whereas  labor  is  and  is  considered  at  present 
a  hardship  and  almost  a  calamity,  in  the  future 
it  will  be  a  glad  and  joyous  exercise  of  natural 
functions.  The  tendencies  which  may  be  perceived 
now  in  a  very  weak  form  are  to  make  labor  pleas- 

58  Men  vs.  the  Man 

ant  and  attractive.  On  the  other  hand,  there  is  a 
tendency  to  make  pleasures  useful.  These  two 
tendencies  converge  and  will  meet  in  the  society  of 
the  future.  So  that  generally  speaking  in  the 
future  all  labor  will  be  more  of  a  pleasure  than  the 
pleasures  are  now,  and  the  pleasures  of  the  future 
will  be  more  productive  than  the  labor  is  now. 
From  that  point  of  view,  to  discuss  how  short  the 
hours  of  labor  will  be  in  the  future  is  unneces- 

Space  will  not  permit  me  to  take  up  here  your 
startling  assertion  that  "  after  two  generations  of 
Socialism,  there  would  be  no  more  Pasteurs." 
Surely  you  do  not  mean  to  contend  that  adversity 
and  penury  are  favorable  to  the  development  of 
scientific  genius,  and  that  by  abolishing  poverty  we 
will  make  the  genesis  of  genius  impossible  ?  But  I 
am  comforted  by  the  thought  that,  even  if  you 
are  right,  and  we  are  to  produce  no  more  Pasteurs 
in  the  society  of  the  future,  at  any  rate  we  shall 
have  far  less  need  for  them  than  we  have  to-day. 
When  we  shall  have  definitely  abolished  poverty 
from  the  earth  those  medical  and  chemical  savants 
who  have  hitherto  found  their  chief  occupation  in 
devising  means  of  fighting  or  curing  diseases  that 
are  in  large  part  the  products,  direct  or  indirect, 
of  poverty  and  the  filth  caused  by  poverty,  will 
have  leisure  to  devote  to  devising  chemical 
processes  for  performing  the  dirty  work  which  is 
to-day  done  by  cheap  and  dirty  men  and  women. 

Men  vs.  the  Man  59 

They  will  also  find  a  fertile  field  in  discovering 
chemical  methods  of  producing  nutritive  sub- 

How  the  abolition  of  poverty  will  compel  our 
Pasteurs  to  change  their  occupations  was  strik- 
ingly brought  home  to  his  hearers  by  Dr.  Linsly 
Williams  of  the  Vanderbilt  Clinic  in  a  speech  he 
made  before  the  delegates  of  the  Brooklyn  Central 
Labor  Union  in  the  Auditorium  Hall  of  the  Mu- 
seum of  Natural  History.  The  occasion  was 
Brooklyn  Labor  Union  Day  of  the  International 
Tuberculosis  Exhibition.  I  quote  briefly  from 
the  newspaper  account  of  his  speech: 

"  Dr.  Williams  began  by  saying  that  although 
everybody  was  more  or  less  affected  by  the  rav- 
ages of  tuberculosis,  the  working  class  suffered 
particularly,  as  thirty-three  per  cent,  of  the  work- 
ers died  from  the  dread  disease.  .  .  .  Then, 
striking  the  keynote  of  his  discourse,  the  doctor  de- 
clared that  the  greatest  predisposing  cause  of  the 
white  plague  was  low  wages  and  working  under 
unsanitary  conditions.  He  told  of  the  unhealthful 
way  in  which  a  great  deal  of  the  work  of  the 
world  was  done,  and  as  a  proof  of  his  statements 
said  that  while  the  average  annual  death  rate  per 
thousand  from  tuberculosis  was  two  and  a  half  for 
the  general  public,  the  rate  for  stone-cutters  was 
5.4,  for  cigar-makers  5.3,  and  for  printers,  4.3, 
with  the  majority  of  the  workers  in  the  other 
trades  also  above  the  average  rate.  On  the  other 

60  Men  vs.  the  Man 

hand,  the  death  rate  for  doctors  was  1.6,  and  for 
farmers  only  i.i. 

"  In  conclusion  Dr.  Williams  made  an  impressive 
plea  for  cleanliness  and  concerted  effort  in  the  work 
of  fighting  the  white  plague,  and  also  took  occa- 
sion to  score  those  *  superior '  individuals  who 
calmly  assert  that  everybody  can  be  clean  and  have 
fresh  air  if  they  want  to.  '  It  is  easy  to  tell  people 
to  be  clean/  said  he,  *  but  when  one  has  to  work 
long  hours  for  low  wages  I  tell  you  it  is  almost 
impossible  to  be  clean  and  have  plenty  of  fresh 
air.  When  people  are  huddled  together  in  the 
crowded  tenements  it  is  no  easy  thing  to  take  a 
bath,  and  if  one  opens  the  windows  for  air, 
instead  of  real  air,  a  volume  of  smoke  and  dirt 
makes  one  close  them  again.  The  main  thing  in 
this  fight  is  to  get  better  pay  for  your  labor  so  that 
you  can  live  in  better  houses  and  have  better  food 
and  thus  be  enabled  to  resist  the  attacks  of  the 
disease.1  " 

There  are  several  other  things  I  would  like  to 
say  to  you  in  regard  to  this  Pasteur  argument  of 
yours,  but  they  will  have  to  wait  for  another  letter, 
as  this  one  is  already  far  too  long.  I  hope  you 
will  pardon  its  excessive  length  and  believe  me 
when  I  promise  not  to  sin  in  this  particular  way 

Let  me  hear  from  you  soon. 


R.  R.  LA  MONTE. 



When  I  dropped  my  last  epistle  into  the  letter 
box  there  went  with  it  a  pious  hope  that  the  mod- 
est reductio  ad  absurdum  I  had  attempted  might 
rescue  you  from  your  maze  of  fantastic  statistics, 
or,  at  least,  that  it  might  implant  in  you  a  certain 
salutary  distrust  of  statisticians.  But  I  see  now 
that  this  hope  was  a  vain  thing,  and  doomed  to  an 
early  death,  for  you  return  to  the  attack  with  fig- 
ures that  are  even  more  fantastic  than  those  you 
discharged  in  your  first  salvo.  Perhaps,  however, 
I  have  no  right  to  dispute  these  figures  in  such  an 
offhand  manner,  for  I  have  no  doubt  that,  at  bot- 
tom, there  may  be  a  good  deal  of  truth  in  them. 
But  I  am  on  the  safe  side,  I  believe,  when  I  main- 
tain that,  whatever  their  degree  of  accuracy  may 
be,  you  and  your  Socialist  friends  demand  no  proof 
of  it,  but  take  it  on  trust,  and  that  the  deductions 
you  draw  from  them  show  a  great  deal  more  en- 
thusiasm than  logic. 

You  begin,  for  instance,  by  summoning  to  the 
witness  stand  a  professor  from  faraway  Austria, 
and  he,  in  turn,  starts  out  by  announcing  a  discov- 


62  Men  vs.  the  Man 

ery.  He  has  found,  he  says,  that  a  lot  of  energy 
is  wasted  in  Austria,  and  that  the  work  of  that 
country,  which  now  engages  all  but  a  small  minor- 
ity of  its  inhabitants,  might  be  done  very  well  by 
comparatively  few  of  them.  Following  the  cus- 
tom of  statisticians,  he  does  not  offer  us  the  facts 
upon  which  this  conclusion  is  based,  but  as  for  the 
conclusion  itself,  he  is  very  sure  of  its  truth.  Given 
an  eleven-hour  work-day,  he  says,  and  300  work- 
days a  year,  and  it  would  be  possible  for  615,000 
Austrians  to  provide  all  the  necessities  of  life 
for  the  22,000,000  inhabitants  of  the  empire. 
From  this  he  reaches  the  conclusion  that,  if 
5,000,000  men  lent  a  hand  (there  are  just  about 
5,000,000  able-bodied  men  of  working  age  in  the 
empire),  instead  of  but  615,000,  each  man  would 
have  to  labor  but  one  hour  and  twenty-two  and  a 
half  minutes  a  day. 

All  of  this  makes  an  interesting  experiment  in 
simple  arithmetic,  but  when  you  cite  it,  in  all  seri- 
ousness, as  proof  of  your  argument  that,  under  So- 
cialism, the  average  workingman  of  America, 
working  but  three  or  four  hours  a  day,  would  earn 
$5,000  a  year,  you  exhibit  a  lamentable  inability  to 
differentiate  between  the  possible  and  the  probable, 
the  abstract  and  the  actual,  the  conceivable  and  the 
ponderable.  Your  Austrian  professor  discourses  so 
glibly,  not  of  real  human  beings,  but  of  algebraic 
#'s  of  his  own  creation,  and  you  follow  him  in  mis- 
taking these  #'s  for  men  and  women.  He  sets 

Men  vs.  the  Man  63 

aside,  as  of  no  account  whatever,  almost  every  one 
of  the  multitude  of  yearnings,  ambitions,  desires, 
and  appetites  which  distinguish  man  from  the  red 
ant,  and  you  follow  him  in  holding  them  to  be 
negligible.  He  draws  figures  on  a  slate — and  you 
assume  they  are  alive. 

It  would  take  a  long  letter  to  show,  in  detail, 
how  widely  your  professor's  elaborate  syllogism 
varies  from  the  facts  of  existence.  I  need  only 
point  out  here  the  absurdity  of  supposing  that  it 
would  be  possible  to  find  5,000,000  men  who  would 
be  at  once  capable  of  doing  their  work  efficiently, 
and  willing  to  do  it,  day  after  day,  even  for  but 
an  hour  and  a  half  a  day,  without  some  effort  to 
rid  themselves  of  the  necessity  for  doing  it  at  all. 
To  make  this  clear,  let  me  recall  to  you  the  strong 
human  impulse  which  Friedrich  Nietzsche  (whom 
you  despise)  denominated  "  the  will  to  power." 
This  will  to  power  is  more  than  a  mere  emotion 
or  idea,  for  it  exists  in  practically  every  man,  even 
the  most  degraded,  and  the  mere  fact  that  a  man 
makes  some  effort  to  keep  alive  shows  that  he  pos- 
sesses it.  It  is,  indeed,  the  primal  life  instinct, 
which  Arthur  Schopenhauer,  long  before  Nietzsche 
was  born,  called  "  the  will  to  live." 

But  how  does  this  "  will  to  power "  or  "  will 
to  live"  manifest  itself?  In  civilized  human  so- 
cieties, I  believe,  it  shows  itself  chiefly  in  a  sort  of 
constant  emulation  and  rivalry,  which,  beginning 
as  a  lowly  effort  to  exchange  the  minimum  of 

64  Men  vs.  the  Man 

muscular  effort  for  the  maximum  of  food,  expands, 
higher  up,  into  the  complex  and  powerful  thing 
called  ambition.  That  is  to  say,  there  lies,  deep 
down  in  the  soul  of  every  man  who  deserves  to 
be  regarded  as  human,  an  irresistible  and  never- 
failing  impulse  to  sell  his  energy  and  ability  as 
dearly  as  he  can.  The  more  he  gets  in  payment, 
the  more  consideration  and  comforts  he  will  en- 
joy, and  the  more  desirable  his  position  will  appear 
when  compared  to  the  condition  of  other  men. 
Herein  we  perceive  Nietzsche's  reason  for  chang- 
ing Schopenhauer's  "  will  to  live  "  into  "  will  to 
power,"  for  he  saw  clearly  that  the  only  way  a 
man  may  accurately  measure  his  success  in  this  ef- 
fort is  by  observing  the  extent  of  his  mastery  of 
his  environment — which  includes,  as  one  of  its  prin- 
cipal factors,  his  fellow-men.  No  matter  how 
slight  the  degree  of  a  man's  victory  over  the 
natural  and  social  forces  which  work  for  his  de- 
struction or  enslavement,  he  is  to  that  extent  the 
superior  of  the  man  who  has  been  destroyed  or  en- 
slaved. It  is  the  constant  effort  of  every  man  to 
gain  such  victories — to  increase  his  comparative 
safety  and  importance.  Even  the  saint  whose  cult 
is  self-sacrifice  has  a  yearning  to  be,  to  some  ap- 
preciable extent,  more  sacrificing  than  his  rival  on 
the  next  pillar.  Even  the  Pope,  at  the  very  pin- 
nacle of  human  eminence,  would  be  glad,  no  doubt, 
to  exchange  places  with  an  archangel. 

Well,  you  will  find,  on  looking  into  the  matter, 

Men  vs.  the  Man  65 

that  the  average  workingman  has  before  him  two 
practicable  methods  for  satisfying  his  will  to  power. 
By  the  first  method  he  enters  into  a  conspiracy 
with  other  workingmen  which  has  for  its  object  an 
artificial  "  bulling  "  of  the  market  wherein  their 
skill  is  sold.  That  is  to  say,  they  endeavor  to 
raise  the  market  value  of  their  skill  without  offering 
any  corresponding  improvement  in  its  quality.  By 
the  second  method,  the  individual  workman  seeks 
so  to  improve  his  own  skill  that  it  shall  bring  more 
than  the  average  price. 

The  second  method  would  seem  to  be  the  more 
attractive,  for  experience  shows  that  it  frequently 
has  the  result  of  lifting  the  man  who  adopts  it 
out  of  the  ranks  of  workingmen  altogether,  since 
a  man  who  is  wise  enough  to  sacrifice  imminent 
ease  for  permanent  benefit  is  a  man  of  forethought, 
and  forethought  is  a  quality  so  valuable  and  so 
rare  that  its  possessor  rises  in  the  world  almost 
automatically.  But  as  a  matter  of  fact,  compara- 
tively few  workmen  adopt  this  method  of  making 
secure  their  livelihood  and  safety.  The  vast 
majority  adopt  the  first  method.  Instead  of  seek- 
ing to  increase  their  efficiency,  they  try  to  force 
their  employer  (who  is  but  the  spokesman  or  rep- 
resentative of  the  rest  of  humanity)  to  take  it  for 
granted.  In  other  words,  they  try  to  do  as  little 
as  they  can  for  their  wages,  and  to  do  that  little 
with  the  least  possible  expenditure  of  skill  and  at- 

66  Men  vs.  the  Man 

The  average  workingman,  indeed,  particularly 
in  America,  is  notable  chiefly  for  his  firm  faith 
that  his  need  for  working  is  an  intolerable  evil, 
which  has  been  laid  upon  him  by  diabolical  task- 
masters, and  which  he  is  justified  in  shirking  as 
much  as  possible.  It  is  his  constant  effort  to  give 
less  energy  to  his  work  to-day  than  he  gave  to  it 
yesterday,  and  he  forces  society  to  condone  and 
even  encourage  this  effort  by  a  sort  of  permanent 
threat  to  cease  working  altogether.  Search  the 
whole  history  of  trades-unionism  in  America,  and 
you  will  find  scarcely  half  a  dozen  attempts, 
by  unions,  to  increase  the  efficiency  of  their 
members.  But  you  will  find  a  million  attempts 
to  penalize  society  for  calling  that  efficiency  in 

And  so,  after  a  long  journey,  we  come  upon  one 
very  serious  difficulty  in  your  professor's  maze  of 
figures.  He  has  brought  forward  his  proofs 
mathematical — and  he  has  forgotten  the  objections 
psychological.  He  has  shown  that  5,000,000 
faithful  and  efficient  workingmen  could  do  all  the 
work  of  Austria  in  less  than  two  hours  a  day — 
and  he  has  overlooked  the  fact  that  there  are  not 
5,000,000  faithful  and  efficient  workingmen  in  the 
country.  He  has,  in  a  word,  made  the  colossal 
mistake  of  assuming  that,  during  one  hour  of  work, 
the  workingman  does  all  the  work  that  it  is  pos- 
sible to  do  in  an  hour.  He  has  made  no  allow- 
ance for  inefficiency,  for  shirking,  for  laziness,  for 

Men  vs.  the  Man  67 

drunkenness,  for  illness.  He  has  made  no  allow-, 
ance  for  the  fact  that,  in  a  large  number  of  neces- 
sary industries,  seasonal  and  climatic  variations 
make  long  and  unavoidable  periods  of  inactivity. 
He  has  forgotten  the  ineradicable  tendency  of  the 
workingman  to  go  on  strikes  and  holidays.  He 
has  wasted  all  of  his  fine  logic  upon  a  purely 
theoretical  workman,  who  never  was  on  land  or 
sea.  Putting  the  efficiency  of  this  monster  at  100, 
I  think  I  am  safe  in  assuming  that  the  efficiency 
of  the  real  workman  of  flesh  and  blood  may  be 
set  down  at  fifteen.  And  if  this  is  true,  the  pro- 
fessor's theoretical  workday  of  one  hour  and 
twenty-two  and  a  half  minutes  becomes  a  real 
workday  of  more  than  nine  hours. 

But  anticipating  all  this,  you  answer  in  one  place 
that,  under  Socialism,  men  will  look  upon  work  as 
a  pleasure,  and  hint  that  the  present  effort  to  shirk 
will  disappear.  If  I  were  convinced,  my  dear  La 
Monte,  that  you  actually  held  to  any  such  belief, 
I  would  certainly  not  give  over  my  scant  leisure 
to  this  correspondence.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  you 
must  be  well  aware  that  the  traits  and  weaknesses 
which  make  the  workman  of  to-day  an  unwilling 
and  inefficient  laborer  are  ingrained  character- 
istics of  all  low-caste  men — as  plainly  so,  indeed, 
as  their  superstitiousness,  grossness,  emotional  sug- 
gestibility (particularly  in  political  matters),  and 
fear  of  hell — and  that  no  social  cataclysm,  how- 
ever appalling,  will  convert  them  at  one  stroke 

68  Men  vs.  the  Man 

into  new  beings.  That  they  will  improve  in  the 
course  of  time,  I  am  firmly  convinced,  for  they  have 
improved  steadily  in  the  past,  but  their  progress 
toward  perfect  efficiency,  like  their  progress  toward 
perfect  knowledge,  will  always  be  behind  that  of 
the  classes  above  them.  The  average  working- 
man  of  to-day  is  a  better  man  than  Moses  in  at 
least  one  respect,  for  he  is  far  less  superstitious, 
but  the  Pasteurs  of  to-day  are  still  as  far  ahead 
of  him  as  Moses  was  ahead  of  the  slaves  who  built 
the  pyramids. 

Herein  you  will  discern  my  first  and  last  ob- 
jection to  Socialism.  I  believe,  in  a  word,  that  it 
overlooks  certain  ineradicable  characteristics  of  the 
human  animal,  and  certain  immutable  laws  of  the 
biological  process.  Going  further,  I  believe  that 
these  characteristics  and  laws  deserve  to  be  fostered 
and  obeyed  rather  than  opposed,  for  to  their  in- 
fluence we  owe  all  that  we  have  of  progress. 
Every  comfort  that  we  have  to-day  was  devised 
by  some  man  who  yearned  to  get  more  out  of  life 
than  the  men  about  him;  every  great  truth  that 
helps  us  face  existence  bravely  and  confidently  was 
unearthed  by  some  philosopher  who  yearned  to  be 
honored  above  all  other  philosophers;  every  law 
that  gives  us  safety  and  order  was  written  by  some 
law-maker  who  yearned  to  see  his  own  notion  of 
security  and  order  prevail  over  the  notions  of 
others.  Just  as  every  micro-organism  in  the  sea 
ooze  fights  for  that  pin  point  of  space  which  will 

Men  vs.  the  Man  69 

give  it  life  while  its  fellows  die,  just  so  every 
man  fights  for  that  microscopic  degree  of  superi- 
ority which  gives  him  eminence  over  his  fellow- 
man — better  food,  a  better  coat,  more  leisure, 
greater  honor,  respect  and  love,  and  a  more  poign- 
ant and  widespread  feeling  of  something  lacking 
after  he  is  gone.  You  Socialists,  seeing  part  of 
this  dimly,  talk  of  a  "  materialistic  conception  of 
history,"  and  say  Karl  Marx  invented  it.  But  you 
are  wrong,  for  it  was  invented  for  all  time  on  the 
day  that  the  first  living  cells  began  to  fight  over 
their  first  meal. 

Such  is  the  law  of  the  survival  of  the  fittest,  and 
so  it  stands  immutable.  Socialism  is  only  one  of 
a  hundred  plans  for  ameliorating  it,  and  since  all 
of  the  others  have  failed,  I  believe  that  Socialism 
will  fail  too.  That  Antiparos  whose  maunderings 
you  quote  against  me  thought  the  invention  of  the 
water-wheel  would  turn  all  of  the  mill-slaves  of 
Greece  into  gentlemen  of  leisure,  lolling  all  day  in 
ease  and  idleness,  but  Antiparos  was  wrong,  for, 
like  all  the  Greeks,  he  was  entirely  ignorant  of  the 
laws  which  govern  living  organisms.  Had  he 
lived  after  Malthus,  instead  of  thousands  of  years 
before  him,  he  would  have  known  that  the  water- 
wheel,  by  making  bread  cheaper,  would  soon  de- 
crease the  death-rate  and  increase  the  birth-rate 
of  Greece,  and  that  this  increased  population, 
needing  other  things  beside  bread,  would  quickly 
turn  the  idle  millers  to  profitable  industry.  This 

70  Men  vs.  the  Man 

process  has  been  repeated  over  and  over  again 
ever  since. 

You  Socialists  make  a  somewhat  similar  mistake. 
You  propose  to  wipe  out  competition,  with  its  frank 
acceptance  of  the  law  of  natural  selection,  and  to 
put  co-operation  in  its  place.  By  this  plan,  you 
say,  life  will  be  relieved  of  most  of  its  present  haz- 
ards, and  every  man  in  the  world  will  enjoy  per- 
fect security,  peace,  and  comfort.  Well,  supposing 
all  this  to  be  true,  what  will  be  the  result  ?  First 
and  foremost,  I  believe,  an  enormous  increase  in 
population.  Even  admitting  the  possibility  of 
curbing  the  actual  birth-rate,  it  is  apparent  that 
the  concerted  efforts  to  put  an  end  to  the  struggle 
for  existence  will,  for  a  time  at  least,  reduce  the 
death-rate  among  what  are  now  the  lowest  orders 
toward  that  of  what  is  now  the  highest,  and  that 
this  reduction  will  quickly  swell  the  population  of 
the  world. 

For  a  time,  perhaps,  things  will  go  on  serenely, 
for  these  extra  people,  let  us  assume,  will  all  do 
their  share  of  the  work  of  the  world.  But  soon 
or  late,  I  take  it,  the  human  race  will  make  the 
startling  discovery  that  the  satisfaction  of  human 
desires  is  limited,  not  only  by  the  finiteness  of 
human  energy,  but  also  by  the  finiteness  of  the 
earth  in  size  and  resources.  That  is  to  say,  there 
will  come  a  time  when  the  wheat  fields  of  the  world 
will  be  too  small  to  raise  all  the  wheat  needed  by 
the  race.  And  when  that  time  comes  a  struggle 

Men  vs.  the  Man  71 

for  the  wheat  that  they  can  raise  will  come  with 
it,  and  your  Socialist  state  will  disappear.  You 
may  say  that  the  same  impasse  will  be  reached 
eventually  with  things  as  they  are,  but  a  moment's 
reflection  will  show  you  that  that  is  no  answer  at 
all.  I  am  not  trying  to  prove  that  this  is  the  best 
of  all  possible  worlds ;  I  am  merely  trying  to  show 
you  that  Socialism  cannot  hope  to  change  it. 
Whether  we  adopt  Socialism  or  accept  things  as 
they  are,  we  must  come  eternally  upon  periods  of 
stress  and  storm,  and  during  these  periods  the 
strong  will  prevail  over  the  weak,  and  every  man- 
made  law  that  seeks  to  stay  them  will  be  swept 

This  happened  after  the  French  Revolution,  as 
you  yourself  point  out.  You  seem  to  think  that 
the  fact  constitutes  a  criticism  of  my  argument,  but 
in  reality  it  supports  me.  The  French  Revolution, 
as  you  know,  had  its  seed  back  in  the  Middle  Ages, 
when  certain  citizens  of  France,  by  reason  of  their 
superior  intelligence  and  craft,  began  to  acquire 
a  vast  power  over  the  rest  of  the  population.  The 
sons  of  these  medieval  lords  of  the  soil  maintained 
their  supremacy  after  them,  and  it  was  maintained 
by  so  many  succeeding  generations  that,  after 
awhile,  it  came  to  be  regarded  as  a  matter  of 
course.  Even  after  the  race  of  barons  began  to 
degenerate,  no  one  thought  of  disputing  their  sway. 
Meanwhile,  they  kept  going  downhill,  and  by  the 
beginning  of  the  eighteenth  century  they  were  a 

72  Men  vs.  the  Man 

race  of  incompetent,  helpless  parasites,  whose 
power  over  the  masses  rested,  not  upon  any  superi- 
ority of  their  own,  but  upon  the  eternal  fact  that 
the  common  people  are  ever  thick  of  wit,  ever  long- 
suffering,  and  ever  slow  to  advocate  a  change.  The 
aristocracy  of  France  was  so  inefficient  in  the  time 
of  Louis  XIV  that  the  peasants  of  France  might 
have  overthrown  it  with  ease,  but  it  took  a  long 
series  of  outrages  and  the  urging  of  many  men  to 
make  them  act,  and  so  it  was  not  until  the  reign 
of  Louis  XVI  that  they  declared  open  war. 

Well,  this  old  race  of  overlords  proved  an  easy 
foe,  and  the  victorious  commoners,  staggered  by 
their  almost  instantaneous  conquest,  at  once  jumped 
to  the  conclusion  that  there  was  no  such  thing  as 
aristocracy — that  because  this  one  had  turned  out 
to  be  a  hollow  sham,  all  were  shams.  The  im- 
mediate result  was  the  grotesque  mob-rule  of  the 
few  months  following  the  murder  of  Louis  XVI. 
Here  was  an  actual  experiment  in  Socialism,  for 
all  advantages  of  birth,  wealth,  and  rank  were 
swept  away.  Every  citizen  of  France  was  the 
equal  of  every  other  citizen,  and  each  was  ex- 
pected to  serve  the  state  according  to  his  particular 
talents  and  training. 

Well,  did  this  mob-rule  last?  Not  at  all!  It 
was  soon  found  that  a  populace,  as  a  populace, 
could  no  more  govern  itself  than  a  drunken  man 
could  drag  himself  home,  or  a  sober  man  could 
pull  his  own  teeth.  Strong  men  were  needed  to 

Men  vs.  the  Man  73 

make  laws  and  enforce  them,  to  deal  with  matters 
above  the  comprehension  of  the  rabble,  to  decide 
between  parties  and  factions — and  in  a  very  short 
while  these  strong  men  began  to  move  toward  the 
top,  while  the  weak  went  back  to  their  old  station 
underfoot.  In  place  of  the  artificial  aristocracy  of 
strong  men's  great-grandsons,  there  arose  a  new 
and  actual  aristocracy  of  strong  men.  In  the  end, 
the  strongest  of  them  lorded  it  over  all  France, 
and  nearly  all  of  Europe. 

Napoleon  Bonaparte,  under  the  influence  of  the 
old  order  of  things,  tried  to  perpetuate  his  su- 
premacy in  his  descendants,  but  here  he  overlooked 
a  new  idea  which  had  come  into  the  world.  That 
idea  was  this:  that  an  aristocracy  must  constantly 
justify  its  existence.  In  other  words,  there  must 
be  no  artificial  conversion  of  its  present  strength 
into  perpetual  rights.  The  way  must  be  always 
open  for  the  admission  of  strong  men  from  the 
lower  orders,  and  the  way  must  be  always  open, 
too,  for  the  automatic  expulsion  of  men  whose 
strength  fails.  Our  governmental  hierarchy,  here 
in  the  United  States,  partially  satisfies  this  descrip- 
tion of  a  sound  aristocracy.  That  is  to  say,  it  is 
a  despotism  so  long  as  it  rules  at  all,  but  it  must 
constantly  prove  its  right  to  rule.  Some  day  in 
the  future,  I  am  convinced,  there  will  arise  a  man 
strong  enough  to  hold  the  supreme  power  as  long 
as  he  lives,  just  as  Sefior  Diaz  seems  likely  to 
do  in  Mexico  at  present.  In  the  department  of 

74  Men  vs.  the  Man 

commercial  enterprise  we  have  plenty  of  such  men. 
James  J.  Hill,  I  suppose,  will  be  able  to  keep  his 
immense  power  until  he  dies,  for  it  is  unlikely 
that,  in  the  course  of  the  few  years  remaining  to 
him,  he  will  encounter  a  foe  efficient  enough  to 
wrest  it  from  him,  but,  for  all  his  potency,  he  can 
do  nothing  whatever  to  safeguard  it  against  the 
inefficiency  of  his  descendants  after  he  is  gone. 

The  word  aristocracy,  to  an  American,  always 
suggests  the  European  nobility,  with  its  peculiar 
system  of  titles  and  its  peculiar  privileges  in  the 
affairs  of  government.  But  there  are  aristocrats 
of  many  other  sorts,  and  aristocracy,  in  itself,  by 
no  means  presupposes  a  patent  of  nobility  and  a 
seat  in  the  House  of  Lords.  As  a  matter  of  fact, 
I  have  shown  that  these  things  are  evidences,  not  of 
real  aristocracy,  but  of  that  old,  artificial  aristoc- 
racy which,  in  some  countries,  has  managed  to  sur- 
vive— though  always  with  lessened  powers.  The 
aristocrats  of  social  rank  and  governmental  influ- 
ence are  by  no  means  omnipotent.  In  their  own 
field  they  constitute  the  first  estate,  but  in  some 
other  field  they  may  be  slaves. 

The  French  Encyclopedists  who  spurred  the 
peasants  of  France  on  to  the  massacre  of  the  old 
nobility  did  the  world  a  service  by  wiping  out  a 
sham,  but  at  the  same  stroke  they  gave  it  a  new 
sham  to  take  the  place  of  the  old  one.  This  new 
sham  was  the  theory  that  all  men  were  equal  before 
the  Lord.  Voltaire,  Diderot,  and  the  others  called 

Men  vs.  the  Man  75 

themselves  materialists,  and  I  have  no  doubt  that 
they  were  sincere  in  saying  that  they  couldn't  ac- 
cept the  absurdities  of  Christian  theology,  but  all 
the  same  they  accepted,  whether  openly  or  tacitly, 
the  corner-stone  of  that  theology,  which  is  the 
doctrine  that  every  man  has  a  soul.  Their  whole 
philosophy,  indeed,  was  based  upon  a  belief  in 
the  sacredness  of  that  soul.  Every  man,  they 
argued,  had  a  soul,  and  since  every  soul  was  of 
infinite  sacredness,  each  one  was  as  good  as  any 
other.  Upon  this  they  erected  the  theory  of 
human  equality. 

These  men  were  bold  and  ingenious,  but,  as  I 
have  tried  to  show  in  another  place,  they  were 
vastly  handicapped  by  their  ignorance.  They  could 
scoff  at  Christianity  all  they  pleased,  but  in  the  end 
they  had  to  admit  that  they  couldn't  disprove  it. 
This  was  because  they  lived  a  hundred  years  too 
soon.  Had  they  written  their  books  after  in- 
stead of  before  the  day  of  Charles  Darwin,  they 
would  have  been  free  from  that  anthropomorph- 
ism, which,  despite  their  great  powers  of  ratiocina- 
tion, constantly  colored  their  thoughts.  Before 
Darwin  it  was  easy  enough  for  anyone  to  main- 
tain that  the  fundamental  Christian  doctrines  were 
incapable  of  proof,  but  it  was  only  after  his  life- 
work  gave  us  a  wholly  new  view  of  the  universe, 
and  set  men,  for  the  first  time,  to  exploring  its 
mysteries  in  an  orderly  fashion,  that  it  became  pos- 
sible for  anyone  to  argue  of  Christianity  not  only 

76  Men  vs.  the  Man 

that  it  was  unreasonable,  but  also  that  it  was  actu- 
ally impossible. 

I  have  wandered  into  this  reference  to  Chris- 
tianity not  by  accident,  but  intentionally,  and  be- 
cause it  seems  to  me  that,  as  schemes  of  civilization, 
Christianity  and  Socialism  are  identical.  You  So- 
cialists call  yourselves  agnostics,  but  you  still  main- 
tain the  fundamental  tenet  of  Christian  theology, 
which  is  the  notion  that  all  men  are  God's  chil- 
dren, and  equal  in  his  sight ;  and  you  still  advocate 
the  primary  rule  of  Christian  ethics,  which  is  the 
command  that  every  man  shall  love  his  neighbor  as 
himself.  My  objection,  then,  to  Socialism,  is  my 
objection  to  Christianity.  It  starts  out  with  an 
incredible  assumption  and  it  ends  with  a  command 
that  no  human  being,  so  long  as  he  remains  a  hu- 
man being,  can  possibly  obey. 

That  Christianity  is  impossible  is  shown  by  the 
fact  that  the  world  has  never  beheld  a  single  real 
Christian.  Even  Christ  himself  fell  short,  for 
there  is  abundant  proof  that,  whatever  the  degree 
of  his  love  for  humanity  in  general,  he  had  a 
strong  and  quite  human  dislike  of  the  money- 
changers in  the  Temple,  and  that  he  gave  way  to 
this  dislike  and  tried  to  do  them  injury.  Like 
Christianity,  Socialism  suffers  from  this  irreconcil- 
able difference  between  its  doctrines  and  the  nature 
of  man.  Every  human  being  comes  into  the  world, 
indeed,  with  instincts  which  both  Christianity  and 
Socialism  denounce  as  sinful  But  as  all  moralists 

Men  vs.  the  Man  77 

discover  to  their  horror,  soon  or  late,  it  is  one  thing 
to  invent  and  denounce  a  sin,  and  quite  another 
thing  to  destroy  it. 

This  letter  is  already  very  long,  and  so  there  is 
very  little  space  left  to  deal  with  your  mass  of 
statistics  regarding  surplus  values  and  other  such 
socialistic  scarecrows.  All  you  manage  to  prove  is 
this:  that  under  our  present  free  competition  and 
with  our  efficient  machines,  we  Americans  produce 
a  great  deal  more  than  we  can  use.  Well,  is  this 
to  be  lamented?  For  my  part,  I  think  not.  On 
the  contrary,  it  seems  to  me  to  be  a  good  cause 
for  congratulation,  for  it  is  indubitable  proof  that, 
in  the  struggle  for  existence,  we  Americans  are 
measurably  superior  to  certain  other  races.  As  we 
forge  ahead  in  productiveness,  these  other  races 
will  become  more  and  more  dependent  upon  us 
for  the  necessities  of  life,  and  in  the  end  they  will 
become  our  serfs.  That  is  to  say,  practically  all 
of  their  energy  will  be  devoted  to  earning  the 
money  we  demand  for  the  things  they  need 

You  may  say  that  this  can  never  happen,  since 
tariff  walls  and  national  pride  will  always  stand 
in  the  way.  If  that  is  your  answer,  I  advise  you  to 
go  to  your  history  books  and  see  what  becomes  of 
national  pride  and  tariff  walls  when  a  strong,  rich 
nation  looks  about  for  an  outlet  for  its  over-produc- 
tion. If  the  poorer,  less  efficient  nations  do  not,  at 
once  and  without  resistance,  open  their  gates  and 
begin  to  buy,  as  China  has  but  recently  done,  they 

78  Men  vs.  the  Man 

are  forced  to  do  so  by  the  sword,  and  reduced,  as 
security  for  their  future  complaisance,  to  the  posi- 
tion of  vassals,  as  has  been  the  case  in  India.  If 
it  is  true,  as  you  say,  that  Germany  is  showing 
super-efficiency,  I  venture  to  predict  that  some  day 
Germany  will  conquer  England,  for  in  England 
the  whole  social  fabric  has  been  made  rotten  by 
Christian  sentimentality,  with  its  accompanying 
coddling  of  the  inefficient  and  parasitical. 

Your  proof  that  the  profits  of  the  United  States 
Steel  Corporation  exceed  the  amount  paid  out  as 
wages  to  its  workmen  is  interesting,  but  far  from 
portentous.  You  seem  to  regard  the  Steel  Cor- 
poration as  a  mysterious,  gigantic  ogre  which  sucks 
the  blood  of  the  people,  and  does  no  public  service 
whatever.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  it  is  no  ogre  at 
all,  but  a  collection  of  quite  human  persons,  such 
as  you  and  I,  and  many  of  these  persons  belong  to 
the  class  whose  wrongs  you  deplore.  That  is  to 
say,  a  great  deal  of  the  Corporation's  stock  is 
owned  by  its  employees,  who  are  thus  doubly  paid 
for  their  labor — first  in  wages  and  then  in  profits. 
No  law  prevents  an  employee  from  buying  more 
stock.  You  yourself  must  admit  that  his  wages 
are  commonly  more  than  sufficient  to  keep  him 
alive,  and  that,  in  consequence,  he  should  have  a 
surplus  for  investment  at  the  end  of  each  year. 
Why  doesn't  he  buy  stock  with  it?  Well,  in  many 
cases  he  does — but  in  other  cases  he  invests  his 
money  in  crayon  portraits  of  his  parents,  or  kegs 

Men  vs.  the  Man  79 

of  beer.  He  is,  in  brief,  an  ignorant  and  improv- 
ident man — and  yet  you  weep  over  his  wrongs. 

That  share  of  the  Steel  Corporation  profits 
which  goes  to  the  very  rich  men — and  this  is  the 
share,  I  have  no  doubt,  which  you  regard  as  the 
worst  menace  to  humanity — is  not  lost  to  the 
world  forever,  for  these  rich  men,  like  poor  men, 
have  to  die  in  the  end,  and  even  while  they  live 
they  commonly  give  back,  either  willingly  or  un- 
willingly, most  of  the  money  they  thus  acquire. 
In  a  republic,  it  is  impossible  to  devote  much  pub- 
lic money  to  those  large  but  not  immediately 
profitable  enterprises  which  advance  culture  and 
civilization — such  things,  for  instance,  as  the  estab- 
lishment of  libraries  and  museums,  the  erection  of 
monuments,  the  cleansing  of  cities,  and  the  sys- 
tematic study  of  the  higher  scientific  (and  partic- 
ularly medical)  problems.  This  is  because  the 
common  people,  and  their  elected  representatives, 
being  entirely  ignorant  of  human  history,  see 
nothing  in  these  things  but  idle  vanities. 

Well,  here  is  where  the  predatory  rich  pay  back 
their  debt  to  humanity  in  general.  They  know  the 
vast  value  of  such  enterprises,  and  their  money 
goes  into  them.  In  this  way  the  common  people 
profit  by  the  forced  taxes  they  must  pay  to  men  of 
superior  ingenuity  and  foresight.  In  this  way  the 
millions  so  feloniously  acquired  by  Mr.  Rockefeller 
paid  for  the  Rockefeller  Institute,  which  squared 
the  account  by  giving  the  world  a  specific  for 

80  Men  vs.  the  Man 

cerebro-spinal  meningitis.  It  seems  to  me  that, 
before  this  old  planet  vanishes  into  empty  air,  the 
value  of  that  one  specific,  to  the  human  race,  will 
be  a  hundred  thousand  times  the  value  of  all  the 
securities  a  hundred  Rockefellers  could  possibly 
amass  in  a  lifetime. 

You  seem  to  fancy  that  the  money  acquired  by  a 
single  rich  man  is  value  lost  to  the  race  in  general 
for  all  time.  Nothing  could  be  more  erroneous. 
The  millions  of  Mr.  Carnegie  are  going  back  to 
the  public  even  while  he  lives,  and  a  hundred  years 
hence,  perhaps,  there  will  not  be  a  single  rich  man 
of  his  blood  in  the  world.  When  George  Wash- 
ington died  he  was  the  richest  man  in  the  New 
World,  and  yet  to-day  the  head  of  the  Washington 
clan  is  a  small-fry  druggist  in  a  one-horse  country 
town.  The  whole  clan,  indeed,  has  been  so  quickly 
absorbed  into  the  commonalty  that  few  Americans 
have  ever  even  heard  of  this  man. 

Such  is  the  law  of  evolution,  which  works  back- 
ward as  well  as  forward,  for  in  order  that  one  may 
gain,  another  must  lose.  Say  what  you  will 
against  it,  you  must  at  least  admit  that  it  has 
worked  for  human  progress.  And  say  what  you 
will  against  it,  you  can  never  hope  to  set  it  aside. 

Wherefore,  my  dear  La  Monte,  I  must  again 
decline  your  courteous  invitation  to  call  you 





I  was  very  glad  to  receive  your  entertaining  let- 
ter, and  hasten  to  congratulate  you  on  your  com- 
plete freedom  from  that  weakness  of  small  minds 
• — consistency.  But  I  regret  to  see  that  you  are 
growing  old  before  your  time.  When  Tennyson 
was  your  age  he 

dipt  into  the  future,  far  as  human  eye  could  see, 
Saw  the  Vision  of  the  world,  and  all  the  wonders 
that  would  be; 

Saw  the  heavens  fill  with  commerce,  argosies 

of  magic  sails; 
Pilots  of  the  purple  twilight,   dropping  down 

with  costly  bales; 

Heard  the  heavens  fill  with  shouting,  and  there 

rain'd  a  ghastly  dew 
From  the  nations'  airy  navies  grappling  in  the 

central  blue; 

Far  along  the  world-wide  whisper  of  the  south- 
wind  rushing  warm; 

With   the   standards   of   the   peoples   plunging 
through  the  thunder  storm; 

82  Men  vs.  the  Man 

Till  the  war-drum  throbb'd  no  longer,  and  the 

battle-flags  were  furl'd 
In  the  Parliament  of  man,  the  Federation  of 

the  world. 

There  the  common  sense  of  most  shall  hold  a 

fretful  realm  in  awe, 
And   the  kindly  earth  shall   slumber,   lapt   in 

universal  law. 

There  you  have  the  sublime  optimism  that  is  the 
glory  of  the  youthful  mind.  It  was  not  until 
forty-four  years  later  in  his  extreme  old  age  that 
Tennyson  allowed  himself  to  be  frightened  by  the 
Malthusian  bogey  of  over-population  which  so  per- 
turbs your  soul,  and  even  then  he  himself  half  sus- 
pected that  the  change  of  view  was  due  to  his  fast- 
coming  dotage,  "  for,"  he  tells  us, 

doubtless    I    am    old,    and    think    gray 

thoughts,  for  I  am  gray; 
After  all  the  stormy  changes  shall  we  find  a 
changeless  May? 

After  madness,  after  massacre,  Jacobinism  and 

Some  diviner  force  to  guide  us  thro'  the  days  I 

shall  not  see? 

When  the  schemes  and  all  the  systems,  king- 
doms and  republics  fall, 

Something  kindlier,  higher,  holier — all  for  each 
and  each  for  all? 

Men  vs.  the  Man  83 

All  the  full-brain,  half-brain  races,  led  by  Jus- 
tice, Love,  and  Truth; 

All  the  millions  one  at  length  with  all  the 
visions  of  my  youth? 

All  diseases  quench'd  by  Science,  no  man  halt, 

or  deaf,  or  blind, 
Stronger   ever   born   of   weaker,   lustier   body, 

larger  mind? 

Earth  at  last  a  warless  world,  a  single  race,  a 

single  tongue — 
I  have  seen  her  far  away — for  is  not  Earth  as 

yet  so  young? — 

Every   tiger   madness    muzzled,    every   serpent 

passion  kill'd, 
Every  grim  ravine  a  garden,  every  blazing  desert 


Robed  in  universal   harvest  up  to  either  pole 

she  smiles, 
Universal  ocean  softly  washing  all  her  warless 


Warless?   when   her   tens   are   thousands,    and 

her  thousands  millions,  then — 
All  her  harvest  all  too  narrow — who  can  fancy 

warless  men? 

Warless?  war  will  die  out  late  then.     Will  it 

ever?  late  or  soon? 
Can  it,  till  this  outworn  earth  be  dead  as  yon 

dead  earth,  the  moon? 

84  Men  vs.  the  Man 

But,  in  spite  of  your  nightmare  of  over-pop- 
ulation, and  your  fear  that  we  Socialists  in  our 
blindness  will  "  reduce  the  death-rate  among  what 
are  now  the  lowest  orders  toward  that  of  what  is 
now  the  highest,  and  that  this  reduction  will  quickly 
swell  the  population  of  the  world,"  you  lavish  the 
most  extravagant  eulogy  upon  the  scientists  and 
their  capitalist  patrons  for  discoveries  that  make 
possible  just  this  very  reduction  of  the  death-rate 
at  which  you  stand  aghast !  "  The  work  that 
Pasteur  did  in  the  world,"  you  tell  us,  "  put  the 
clock  of  time  ahead  a  hundred  years,  and  conferred 
a  permanent  and  constantly  cumulative  benefit  upon 
the  whole  human  race,  freeman  and  slave  alike, 
now  and  forevermore."  Your  conscience  evidently 
troubled  you  over  the  mildness  of  this  praise,  for 
in  your  second  letter  you  went  it  one  better  by 
telling  us  that  the  Rockefeller  Institute  had  squared 
Mr.  Rockefeller's  account  with  mankind  "  by  giv- 
ing the  world  a  specific  for  cerebro-spinal  menin- 
gitis. It  seems  to  me,"  you  add,  "  that,  before 
this  old  planet  vanishes  into  empty  air,  the  value 
of  that  one  specific,  to  the  human  race,  will  be  a 
hundred  thousand  times  the  value  of  all  the  securi- 
ties a  hundred  Rockefellers  could  possibly  amass 
in  a  lifetime." 

Were  yours  a  smaller  nature — and  therefore 
more  cursed  with  consistency — I  would  expect  to 
find  you  using  your  influence  with  that  Senor  Diaz, 
who,  you  tell  us,  is  one  day  to  be  our  Dictator,  to 

Men  vs.  the  Man  85 

induce  him  to  punish  with  death  any  doctor  who 
should  give  to  the  rabble  the  benefit  of  any  of  these 
discoveries.  But,  knowing  you  as  I  do,  I  know 
that  in  spite  of  all  your  invective  hurled  at  the  mob 
you  would  be  the  first  to  put  your  hand  into  your 
pocket  to  help  a  poor  printer  threatened  with 
rabies  to  get  to  the  nearest  Pasteur  Institute. 

Speaking  of  Pasteur  reminds  me  of  your  fear 
that  after  two  generations  of  Socialism  there  will 
be  no  more  Pasteurs.  How  many  boys  who  might 
develop  into  Pasteurs  ever  get  the  chance  to?  By 
good  luck  the  wealthy  Cimabue  chanced  to  come 
along  and  look  over  the  shoulder  of  the  poor  little 
shepherd  lad,  Giotto,  and  see  the  picture  of  a 
sheep  the  lad  had  drawn  on  a  stone.  Cimabue 
took  Giotto  to  Florence,  and  Giotto's  paintings 
still  delight  the  race.  How  many  Giottos,  do  you 
suppose,  have  drawn  pictures  equally  good  that  no 
Cimabue  chanced  to  see  ?  I  still  fail  to  understand 
what  you  meant  by  your  startling  assertion  that 
Pasteurs  would  fail  us.  It  must  be  that  you  think 
a  bitter  struggle  for  bare  existence  necessary  to  the 
development  of  talent  or  genius,  or  that  you  think 
the  necessary  productive  work  that  will  be  de- 
manded of  every  one  in  the  future  will  prevent 
the  devotion  of  the  necessary  time  to  science. 

In  regard  to  the  first  point,  Lester  F.  Ward, 
who  is  the  only  sociologist  America  has  produced 
(except  the  late  Lewis  H.  Morgan)  whom  Con- 
tinental scholars  quote  with  respect,  in  his  "  Ap- 

86  Men  vs.  the  Man 

plied  Sociology  "  tells  us  that  "  about  eleven  times 
as  many  talented  persons  belong  to  the  wealthy  or 
well-to-do  classes  as  to  the  poor  or  laboring  classes, 
although  the  latter  are  about  five  times  as  numer- 
ous as  the  former.  The  chances  of  success  for  the 
same  degree  of  talent  are  fifty-five  for  the  former 
class  to  one  for  the  latter.  The  extremes,  of 
course,  are  very  much  greater,  and  for  absolute 
poverty  or  uninterrupted  labor  at  long  hours  the 
chance  of  success  is  necessarily  zero,  no  matter  how 
great  may  be  the  native  talent  or  even  genius.  In- 
digence is  an  effective  bar  to  achievement.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  resources  of  society  may  be  enor- 
mously increased  by  abolishing  poverty,  by  reduc- 
ing the  hours  of  labor,  and  by  making  all  its  mem- 
bers comfortable  and  secure  in  their  economic  rela- 
tions. Any  sacrifice  that  society  might  make  in 
securing  these  ends  would  be  many  times  repaid  by 
the  actual  contributions  that  the  few  really  talented 
among  the  hundreds  of  thousands  thus  benefited 
would  make  to  the  social  welfare.  For  talent  is 
distributed  all  through  this  great  mass  in  the  same 
proportions  as  it  exists  in  the  much  smaller  well- 
to-do  or  wealthy  class,  and  the  only  reason  why 
the  latter  contribute  more  is  because  their  economic 
condition  affords  them  opportunity."  (Page 
228.)  * 

*This  calculation  of  Lester  Ward's  is  based  on  data  taken 
from  Professor  A.  Odin's  monumental  work,  "  Gentsc  des 
Grands  Hommes"  Paris,  1895.  See  especially  Vol.  I.  page 

Men  vs.  the  Man  87 

As  examples  of  talented  persons  who  did  not 
have  to  struggle  for  an  existence,  he  names  Tasso, 
Petrarch,  Boccaccio,  Cervantes,  Dante,  Chaucer, 
Hegel,  Fichte,  Kant,  Buckle,  Bacon,  Milton, 
Hobbes,  Galileo,  Adam  Smith,  Harvey,  Darwin, 
Newton,  Descartes,  Byron,  Shelley,  Macaulay, 
Comte,  Herbert  Spencer,  Gibbon,  Disraeli,  Rob- 
ert Browning,  John  Ruskin,  Victor  Hugo,  and 
many  others."  * 

In  regard  to  the  second  point,  an  hour  or  two 
of  productive  labor  will  keep  our  savants  in  the 
pink  of  physical  condition  for  their  intellectual 
labors,  and  their  experiences  of  real,  practical  life 
will  make  their  studies  far  more  fruitful  for  hu- 

Is  your  bogey  of  over-population  any  more  sub- 
stantial than  a  phantom?  I  will  not  say  posi- 
tively that  it  is  not;  but  I  do  say  confidently  that 
that  bridge  is  so  far  ahead  that  we  need  not  be 
preparing  to  cross  it  now.  What  reason  have  I 
for  saying  that  this  is  an  extremely  remote  danger? 
Compare  the  number  of  offspring  a  single  pair  of 
codfish  are  responsible  for  in  a  year  with  the 
number  a  single  pair  of  rabbits  bestow  upon  the 
earth  in  a  like  time;  and  then  compare  the  rabbit 
from  this  point  of  view  with  the  higher  apes  or  the 
elephants  or  man.  What  do  you  find?  Is  it  not 

1  Ward  takes  this  list  from  "  Genius,  Fame,  and  the  Com- 
parison of  Races,"  by  Charles  H.  Cooley.  Annals  of  the  Am. 
Acad.  Pol  and  Soc.  Science,  Philadelphia.  Vol.  IX.  May, 
1897,  PP.  317-358. 

88  Men  vs.  the  Man 

that  the  higher  the  type,  the  lower  the  rate  of 
increase?  Again  compare  different  races  and 
classes  of  men.  Do  you  not  find  that  highly  civ- 
ilized countries  such  as  France  have  extremely  low 
birth-rates?  If  you  will  go  to  the  Antipodes, 
where  the  average  standard  of  comfort  is  the  high- 
est in  the  world,  you  will  find  a  birth-rate  almost 
as  low  as  that  of  France.  I  well  remember  that 
Mr.  Kelley,  the  able  editor  of  the  New  Zealand 
Times,  was  as  much  of  an  alarmist  on  this  sub- 
ject as  our  own  Roosevelt,  and  seldom  let  a  day 
go  by  without  an  editorial  warning  on  the  subject, 
but  his  warnings  were  in  vain,  for  the  people  were 
far  too  comfortable  to  breed  as  prolificly  as  Irish 
and  Hungarian  peasants.  The  historical  fact,  my 
dear  Mencken,  is  that  comfort  and  education  de- 
crease the  birth-rate.  Socialism  will  give  comfort 
and  education  to  all.  Surely,  you  can  draw  the 
conclusion  for  yourself. 

Chemistry  and  intensive  agriculture  promise  to 
enable  us  to  defy  Malthus  by  an  almost  unlimited 
multiplication  of  the  food  supply.  And  Mr.  Gif- 
ford  Pinchot,  in  a  speech  recently  reported  in  the 
Sun,  told  of  an  amount  of  preventable  waste 
now  going  on  so  vast,  that  if  we  should  stop 
it,  it  is  difficult  to  say  how  enormous  would 
be  our  increased  capacity  for  sustaining  popu- 

I  have  so  many  things  that  I  want  to  say  to  you, 
that  I  grudge  every  bit  of  space  and  time  given  to 

Men  vs.  the  Man  89 

commenting  on  your  arguments.  But  I  must  note 
in  passing  your  assumption  that  because  many 
Austrian  workingmen  now  are  drunken,  lazy,  and 
inefficient,  therefore  Professor  Hertzka's  hypo- 
thetical 5,000,000  in  the  future  would  suffer  from 
the  same  vices.  Do  you  really  think  they  would? 
What  hope  for  the  future  has  the  average  Austrian 
workingman  now?  What  inducement  has  he  to 
be  anything  but  lazy  and  drunken?  What  gives 
me  my  firm  and  unshakeable  faith  in  his  high  po- 
tentialities as  an  efficient  worker  in  the  future,  is 
the  very  fact  that  he  has  sense  and  manhood  enough 
to  be  discontented  with  the  conditions  under  which 
he  works  now,  and  his  laziness,  inefficiency,  and 
drunkenness  are  the  very  best  possible  proofs  of 
that  discontent,  so  pregnant  with  hope  for  hu- 

Your  statement  that  I  despise  Friedrich 
Nietzsche  can  scarcely  be  called  ingenuous,  and  it 
pains  me  because  I  am  sure  you  cannot  be  ig- 
norant that  in  the  International  Socialist  Review 
for  July,  1908,  I,  writing  as  a  Socialist  to  Social- 
ists, said: 

11  I  do  not  see  how  any  of  us  can  help  feeling 
that  Nietzsche,  the  magnificently  assured  prophet 
of  BEYOND-MAN,  is  our  Comrade,  though  we 
cannot  but  grieve  that  his  ideal  included  a  vast 
mass  of  suffering  and  exploited  humanity,  a  *  herd  ' 
or  '  rabble '  over  which  his  beyond-men  were  to 
reign  in  glory  and  dionysian  joy." 

9O  Men  vs.  the  Man 

I  submit  that  this  is  scarcely  the  language  of 

You  say  that  we  Socialists  "  propose  to  wipe  out 
competition,"  and  later  on  in  the  same  letter  you 
admit  that  Mr.  Hill  has  so  effectually  wiped  out 
competition  in  the  railway  business,  that  "  he  will 
be  able  to  keep  his  immense  power  until  he  dies." 
How  are  we  Socialists  to  destroy  that  which  Cap- 
italism has  already  destroyed? 

I  cannot  allow  to  pass  unchallenged  your  state- 
ment that  we  Socialists  "  still  advocate  the  primary 
rule  of  Christian  ethics,  which  is  the  command  that 
every  man  shall  love  his  neighbor  as  himself."  On 
the  contrary  we  know  only  too  well  that  the  only 
practical  ethics  in  a  society  based  on  the  produc- 
tion of  goods  for  profit  are  the  tooth,  fang,  and 
claw  ethics  of  the  jungle.  You  have  but  strength- 
ened the  Socialist  argument  by  showing  that  even 
Christ  himself  could  not  practise  the  Golden  Rule. 
We  know  that  ethics  are  relative  and  changing, 
that  every  stage  of  economic  development  has  its 
own  code  of  ethics,  and  we  are  revolutionists  be- 
cause we  believe  the  Social  Revolution  will  lay  the 
economic  foundation  on  which  all  men  will  practise 
the  Golden  Rule  as  naturally  and  with  as  little 
thought  of  duty  as  they  now  breathe. 

I  am  sorry  that  I  should  once  more  have  to  re- 
peat that  I  have  never  made  any  moral  argument 
against  the  existence  of  surplus-value  per  se.  I 
did  not  represent  the  "  Steel  Corporation  as  a 

Men  vs.  the  Man  91 

mysterious,  gigantic  ogre  which  sucks  the  blood  of 
the  people,  and  does  no  public  service  whatever." 
But  I  did  prove  right  up  to  the  hilt  from  their  own 
figures  that  after  every  bit  of  what  you  and  Mai- 
lock  would  call  "  ability  "  had  been  paid  for  at 
the  highest  market  rates,  the  profits  from  owner- 
ship alone  were  far  in  excess  of  the  wages  for  both 
muscle  and  "  ability,"  and  that  this  excess  of  pro- 
duction over  purchasing  power  as  represented  by 
wages  made  a  Social  Revolution  inevitable. 

But  now  that  you  have  suggested  it  I  am  entirely 
willing  to  admit  that  drawing  profit  from  owner- 
ship without  service  rendered  may  be  called,  with 
perfect  propriety,  "  sucking  the  blood  of  the 

I  can  scarcely  restrain  a  smile  when  you  tell  me 
that  all  is  well  with  the  Steel  Trust  employees  be- 
cause they  are  given  the  opportunity  to  become 
minority  stock-holders  in  the  Trust.  Ask  those 
who  were  minority  stock-holders  in  the  Erie  Rail- 
road when  Jay  Gould  got  control  of  it  what  this 
privilege  is  worth?  Or,  if  that  is  ancient  history, 
ask  those  who  were  minority  stock-holders  in  the 
Chicago  and  Alton  when  it  was  captured  by  Harri- 
man.  If  one  fact  stands  out  above  another  in 
modern  financial  history  it  is  that  stock  companies 
are  the  most  efficient  means  ever  devised  to  trans- 
fer the  savings  of  the  middle  and  working  classes 
to  the  pockets  of  the  lords  of  finance. 

When  you  say  that  rich  men  in  the  long  run  pay 

92  Men  vs.  the  Man 

back  to  the  community  all  the  wealth  they  have 
drawn  from  it,  you  do  not  bear  in  mind  that  the 
great  bulk  of  real  wealth  has  to  be  reproduced 
every  year.  It  cannot  be  paid  back  "  in  the  long 
run."  Its  physical  nature  forbids  it.  Moreover, 
intelligent  workingmen  (which  is  merely  another 
way  of  saying  Socialists  or  Revolutionists)  do  not 
ask  or  expect  rich  men  to  give  or  pay  them  back 
anything,  but  they  are  irrevocably  determined  to 
prevent  rich  men  or  any  men  in  the  future  from 
taking  from  them  the  lion's  share  of  the  wealth 
that  their  labor  produces  and  reproduces  every 

What  vast  wealth  in  practice  consists  of  are 
certain  legal  papers  that  give  their  holders  the 
power  to  compel  other  men  to  work  for  them ;  and 
in  the  case  of  fortunes  such  as  those  of  the  Astors 
and  the  Vanderbilts  and  the  great  landlords  of 
England  this  power  is  handed  down  from  genera- 
tion to  generation,  so  that  no  sane  man  looks  for- 
ward to  the  day  when  the  head  of  the  Rockefeller 
clan  shall  be  nothing  more  than  "  a  small-fry  drug- 
gist in  a  one-horse  country  town " — unless  per- 
chance that  is  the  occupation  he  happens  to  prefer 
in  the  Co-operative  Commonwealth,  and  in  that 
case  I  think  I  am  safe  in  promising  you  that  no 
Socialist  shall  say  him,  Nay. 

I  hope  you  will  pardon  me  for  saying  that  I 
have  thus  far  written  nothing  in  this  letter  that 
need  have  been  written  had  you  read  my  former 

Men  vs.  the  Man  93 

letters  more  carefully.  And  now  I  would  gladly 
enter  more  fruitful  fields,  but,  alas,  I  cannot  yet 
do  so,  for  I  have  not  yet  touched  upon  your 
gracious  intimation  that  you  would  refuse  to  give 
over  your  scant  leisure  to  this  correspondence  if 
you  were  convinced  that  I  actually  believed  that 
"  under  Socialism  "  (by  the  way,  Socialism  is  not 
an  umbrella  or  an  awning)  "  men  will  look  upon 
work  as  a  pleasure,"  and  that  "  the  present  effort  to 
shirk  will  disappear." 

Much  as  I  should  regret  to  see  this  correspond- 
ence cut  short  (and  I  would  regret  it  most  deeply), 
I  am  compelled  to  assure  you  that  I  do  most 
sanguinely  expect  work  to  become  a  pleasure,  nay, 
I  hold  that  all  work  that  has  been  worth  the  doing 
has  always  given  pleasure  to  the  worker,  and  I 
do  expect  that  the  worker  in  the  days  when  "  all 
shall  be  better  than  well  "  will  fear  the  imputation 
of  shirking  even  more  than  most  women  do  to-day 
the  imputation  of  unchastity.  But,  in  spite  of  my 
firm  faith  that  work  of  the  right  kind  should  give 
a  normal  being  pleasure,  I  am  wholly  willing  to 
concede  with  William  Morris  that  "  whatever 
pleasure  there  is  in  some  work,  there  is  certainly 
some  pain  in  all  work,  the  beast-like  pain  of  stirring 
up  our  slumbering  energies  to  action,  the  beast-like 
dread  of  change  when  things  are  pretty  well  with 
us."  And  here  I  am  going  to  depart  from  my 
regular  custom  and  ask  you  to  do  a  little  reading 
for  yourself.  I  am  sure  you  will  get  a  far  better 

94  Men  vs.  the  Man 

comprehension  of  the  Socialist  point  of  view  on 
this  subject  of  work  from  reading  William  Mor- 
ris's Lecture  on  "  Useful  Work  versus  Useless 
Toil  "  than  it  is  possible  for  me  to  give  you  in  the 
limits  of  a  letter.  You  will  find  this  lecture  in  the 
volume  entitled  "  Signs  of  Change,"  published  by 
Longmans,  Green  &  Company. 

William  Morris  discriminates  between  "two 
kinds  of  work — one  good,  the  other  bad,  one  not 
far  removed  from  a  blessing,  a  lightening  of  life; 
the  other  a  mere  curse,  a  burden  to  life. 

"What  is  the  difference  between  them,  then? 
This:  one  has  hope  in  it,  the  other  has  not.  It  is 
manly  to  do  one  kind  of  work,  and  manly  also  to 
refuse  to  do  the  other. 

"  What  is  the  nature  of  the  hope  which,  when  it 
is  present  in  work,  makes  it  worth  doing? 

"  It  is  threefold,  I  think — hope  of  rest,  hope  of 
product,  hope  of  pleasure  in  the  work  itself;  and 
hope  of  these  also  in  some  abundance  and  of  good 
quality;  rest  enough  and  good  enough  to  be  worth 
having;  product  worth  having  by  one  who  is  neither 
a  fool  nor  an  ascetic;  pleasure  enough  for  all  for 
us  to  be  conscious  of  it  while  we  are  at  work;  not  a 
mere  habit,  the  loss  of  which  we  shall  feel  as  a 
fidgety  man  feels  the  loss  of  the  bit  of  string  he 
fidgets  with." 

William  Morris  anticipated  that  the  idea  of 
pleasure  in  work  would  come  as  a  shock  to  men 
like  yourself,  for  he  added: 

Men  vs.  the  Man  95 

"  The  hope  of  pleasure  in  the  work  itself,  how 
strange  that  hope  must  seem  to  some  of  my  read- 
ers— to  most  of  them.  Yet  I  think  that  to  all  liv- 
ing things  there  is  a  pleasure  in  the  exercise  of 
their  energies,  and  that  even  beasts  rejoice  in  be- 
ing lithe  and  swift  and  strong.  But  a  man  at 
work,  making  something  which  he  feels  will  exist 
because  he  is  working  at  it  and  wills  it,  is  exer- 
cising the  energies  of  his  mind  and  soul  as  well  as 
of  his  body.  Memory  and  imagination  help  him 
as  he  works.  Not  only  his  own  thoughts,  but 
the  thoughts  of  the  men  of  past  ages  guide  his 
hands;  and,  as  a  part  of  the  human  race,  he 
creates.  If  we  work  thus  we  shall  be  men,  and 
our  days  will  be  happy  and  eventful." 

I  rejoice  with  you  in  the  conquests  of  Science 
over  Nature,  but  I  hold  with  Morris  that  "  Nature 
will  not  be  finally  conquered  till  our  work  becomes 
a  part  of  the  pleasure  of  our  lives."  And  I  hold 
with  Morris  that  "  if  there  be  any  work  which  can- 
not be  made  other  than  repulsive,  either  by  the 
shortness  of  its  duration  or  the  intermittency  of  its 
recurrence,  or  by  the  sense  of  special  and  peculiar 
usefulness  (and  therefore  honor)  in  the  mind  of 
the  man  who  performs  it  freely, — if  there  be  any 
work  which  cannot  be  but  a  torment  to  the 
worker,"  it  were  better  to  "  leave  it  undone." 
1  The  produce  of  such  work  cannot  be  worth  the 
price  of  it." 

But  you  go  on  to  say  that  I  "  must  be  well 

96  Men  vs.  the  Man 

aware  that  the  traits  and  weaknesses  which  make 
the  workman  of  to-day  an  unwilling  and  inefficient 
laborer  are  ingrained  characteristics  of  all  low- 
caste  men."  I  am  aware  of  nothing  of  the  kind; 
what  I  am  aware  of  is  that  all  men  in  a  state  of 
nature  have  an  almost  ineradicable  hatred  of  toil 
without  hope,  and  that  in  what  you  would  call 
high-caste  men  this  hatred  is  never  wholly  rooted 
out,  but  that  in  what  you  would  call  low-caste  men 
centuries  and  centuries  of  discipline  have  made  even 
hopeless  toil  a  habit,  the  loss  of  which  they  "  feel 
as  a  fidgety  man  feels  the  loss  of  the  bit  of  string 
he  fidgets  with." 

It  is  precisely  among  the  working  class  (whom 
you  describe  as  "  low-caste  men")  that  work  for 
work's  sake  has  become  a  true  nervous  disease, 
and  the  great  task  before  us  is  to  cure  the  prole- 
tariat of  its  diseased  and  depraved  appetite  for 

The  free  citizens  of  Greece  and  Rome  in  the 
days  of  their  glory  had  a  most  healthy  hatred  for 
work.  "  I  could  not  affirm,"  says  Herodotus, 
"  whether  the  Greeks  derived  from  the  Egyptians 
the  contempt  which  they  have  for  work,  because 
I  find  the  same  contempt  established  among  the 
Thracians,  the  Scythians,  the  Persians,  the 
Lydians;  in  a  word,  because  among  most  bar- 
barians, those  who  learn  mechanical  arts  and  even 
their  children  are  regarded  as  the  meanest  of 
their  citizens.  All  the  Greeks  have  been  nur- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  97 

tured  in  this  principle,  particularly  the  Lace- 

"  Nature,"  said  Plato  in  his  noble  *  Republic ' 
(Book  V),  "has  made  no  shoemaker  nor  smith. 
Such  occupations  degrade  the  people  who  exercise 
them.  Vile  mercenaries,  nameless  wretches,  who 
are  by  their  very  condition  excluded  from  political 
rights.  As  for  the  merchants  accustomed  to  lying 
and  deceiving,  they  will  be  allowed  in  the  city  only 
as  a  necessary  evil.  The  citizen  who  shall  have 
degraded  himself  by  the  commerce  of  the  shop 
shall  be  prosecuted  for  this  offense.  If  he  is  con- 
victed, he  shall  be  condemned  to  a  year  in  prison; 
the  punishment  shall  be  doubled  for  each  repeated 

In  his  "  Economics  "  Xenophon  writes,  "  The 
people  who  give  themselves  up  to  manual  labor 
are  never  promoted  to  public  offices,  and  with  good 
reason.  The  greater  part  of  them,  condemned  to 
be  seated  the  whole  day  long,  some  even  to  endure 
the  heat  of  the  fire  continually,  cannot  fail  to  be 
changed  in  body,  and  it  is  almost  inevitable  that 
the  mind  be  affected." 

*  What  honorable  thing  can  come  out  of  a 
shop?  "  asks  Cicero.  "  What  can  commerce  pro- 
duce in  the  way  of  honor  ?  Everything  called  shop 
is  unworthy  an  honorable  man.  Merchants  can 
gain  no  profit  without  lying,  and  what  is  more 
shameful  than  falsehood?  Again,  we  must  regard 
as  something  base  and  vile  the  trade  of  those  who 

98  Men  vs.  the  Man 

sell  their  toil  and  industry,  for  whoever  gives  his 
labor  for  money  sells  himself  and  puts  himself  in 
the  rank  of  slaves." 

There  is  no  use  in  multiplying  these  quotations, 
which  Paul  Lafargue  has  collected  from  the 
classics,  to  show  you  that  just  those  traits  which 
you  regard  as  the  special  attributes  of  low-caste 
men  were  in  fact  the  characteristic  traits  of  high- 
caste  men  in  ancient  Greece  and  Rome,  just  as  they 
are  in  Europe  and  America  to-day. 

But  I  deny  the  validity  of  "  high-caste  "  and 
"  low-caste  "  as  divisions  of  humanity.  I  recog- 
nize not  high-caste  men  and  low-caste  men,  but 
men  who  have  had  a  chance  to  live  human  lives, 
and  men  who  have  been  condemned  to  live  the 
lives  of  beasts.  If  the  term  "  low-caste n 
can  properly  be  applied  to  any  human  beings  it  is 
surely  to  those  pitiable  members  of  the  upper 
classes  who  have  been  so  cut  off  from  all  contact 
with  the  masses  of  humanity  that  in  their  breasts 
the  broad  human  sympathies,  the  sense  of  human 
fellowship  and  solidarity,  of  racial  oneness,  have 
atrophied  and  died  out  until  in  their  relations 
with  all  mankind  outside  their  narrow  social  cir- 
cles they  are  able  to  obey  the  great  command  of 
your  master,  Nietzsche,  uBe  Hard!" 

I  have  no  doubt  that  you  would  classify  the  pri- 
vate soldiers  in  the  Italian  Army  as  "  low-caste 
men."  Let  us  judge  them  by  their  actions.  Right 
after  the  Messina  Earthquake  the  New  York  Sun 

Men  vs.  the  Man  99 

sent  its  London  correspondent  to  the  scene,  and  his 
letter  (the  best  piece  of  newspaper  work  I  have 
ever  seen)  appeared  in  the  issue  of  January  17, 

"  I  stopped  for  half  an  hour  on  Monday  after- 
noon," he  writes,  "  to  watch  the  dramatic  climax 
of  a  rescue  operation  which  had  been  going  on  for 
forty-eight  hours.  It  was  in  the  ruins  piled  forty 
feet  high  adjoining  the  principal  theater  in  Gari- 
baldi street.  On  Saturday  morning  a  faint  re- 
sponse was  heard  deep  down  in  the  debris  to  the 
constant  cry  of  the  rescue  parties,  '  Is  any  one 
there?'  The  original  building  had  been  a  very 
solid  one  of  six  stories  of  stone  and  mortar.  Its 
destruction  had  been  as  complete  as  if  a  rock  the 
size  of  a  house  had  been  dropped  upon  it  from 
the  sky  and  then  rolled  away.  It  seemed  impos- 
sible that  anything  could  remain  alive  beneath  that 
apparently  solid  mass  of  pulverized  walls,  blocks 
of  granite,  and  a  few  splinters  of  wood. 

"  But  the  cry  was  human  and  fifty  men  set  to 
work.  They  dug  valiantly  for  hours  above  where 
the  voice  came.  They  seemed  to  get  no  nearer 
and  night  came.  Searchlights  were  brought  and 
the  work  went  on.  On  Sunday  morning  the  loca- 
tion of  the  sufferer  was  fixed  more  definitely.  They 
could  talk  with  him,  and  he  told  them  he  was  not 
much  hurt,  there  were  a  few  inches  of  space 
about  his  head,  and  his  hands  were  free.  He 
pleaded  not  so  much  for  release  as  for  drink  and 

ioo  Men  vs.  the  Man 

food.  The  dust  was  suffocating  and  he  feared  he 
would  choke  if  they  came  closer.  The  soldiers 
forced  a  pipe  down  through  the  debris  and  the  im- 
prisoned man  succeeded  in  reaching  the  end  of  it. 
Beef  tea  and  brandy  were  poured  down  in  suc- 

"  The  gratitude  that  came  in  response  was  as 
heartfelt  as  if  the  poor  fellow  was  already  in  the 
free  light  and  air  instead  of  crushed  down  beneath 
twenty  feet  of  ruins.  That  additional  twenty  feet 
amid  material  impossible  to  excavate  by  ordinary 
methods  required  another  thirty  hours  to  conquer. 
The  impalpable  powder  which  filled  every  crevice 
of  the  more  solid  material  slipped  back  almost  as 
fast  as  it  was  taken  out.  Besides,  it  was  necessary 
to  proceed  with  the  utmost  caution  for  the  victim's 
sake.  It  was  just  as  the  rescuers  had  come  in 
sight  of  the  poor  fellow  that  I  happened  to  climb 
over  that  section  of  debris.  A  few  moments  ap- 
parently would  effect  his  release,  and  a  stretcher 
was  hastily  brought  to  the  entrance  of  a  little  tun- 
nel which  had  been  driven  through  the  side  of  the 
excavation.  And  then,  when  safety  was  in  sight, 
the  treacherous  sides  of  the  great  hole  began  to 
slip,  and  in  a  few  seconds  the  man  was  buried  anew. 
There  was  a  cry  of  horror  on  all  sides.  A  dozen 
soldiers  buried  their  faces  in  their  hands  and  wept. 
The  downpour  of  powdered  lime  and  stones 
stopped  for  a  moment.  Suddenly  the  officer  in 
charge  cried: 

Men  vs.  the  Man  101 

"  '  Who  will  go  in  with  this  rope  and  fasten  it 
beneath  his  arms  underneath  the  dirt?  It  may 
mean  death,  for  if  the  dust  comes  down  again  it 
will  mean  suffocation  for  whoever  goes?  ' 

"  '  Let  me  go !  Let  me  go !  I  don't  mind 
what  happens  to  me !  '  were  the  cries  from  almost 
every  man  in  the  detachment. 

"  A  noose  was  quickly  made  in  a  stout  rope 
and  a  lithe  young  private  went  quickly  into  the 
bottom  of  that  suffocating  funnel.  He  dug  away 
with  his  hands  around  the  head  of  the  victim.  He 
found,  fortunately,  that  a  small  arch  had  protected 
him  from  the  worst  of  the  last  dust  slide.  In  a 
few  moments  the  rope  was  fixed  and  a  dozen  men 
dragged  the  poor  creatures  into  freedom." 

If  those  soldiers  were  "  low-caste  "  men,  then 
so  were  Jesus  Christ  and  Saint  Francis  of  Assisi. 

It  is  but  too  obvious,  my  dear  Mencken,  that 
you  cherish  what  Dr.  Lester  F.  Ward  calls  uthe 
great  sullen  stubborn  error,  so  universal  and  in- 
grained as  to  constitute  a  world  view,  that  the  dif- 
ference between  the  upper  and  lower  classes  of 
society  is  due  to  a  difference  in  their  intellectual 
capacity,  something  existing  in  the  nature  of  things, 
something  preordained  and  inherently  inevitable." 
("Applied  Sociology,"  page  96.) 

On  page  100  of  the  same  work  he  tells  us: 

"  The  essential  fact,  however,  is  that  there  is 
no  valid  reason  why  not  only  the  other  partially 
emerged  eight-tenths  but  the  completely  submerged 

102  Men  vs.  the  Man 

tenth  should  not  completely  emerge.  They  are  all 
equally  capable  of  it.  This  does  not  at  all  imply 
that  all  men  are  equal  intellectually.  It  only  in- 
sists that  intellectual  inequality  is  common  to  all 
classes,  and  is  as  great  among  the  members  of  the 
completely  emerged  tenth  as  it  is  between  that 
class  and  the  completely  submerged  tenth.  Or, 
to  state  it  more  clearly,  if  the  individuals  who  con- 
stitute the  intelligent  class  at  any  time  or  place  had 
been  surrounded  from  their  birth  by  exactly  the 
same  conditions  that  have  surrounded  the  lowest 
stratum  of  society,  they  would  inevitably  have 
found  themselves  in  that  stratum;  and  if  an  equal 
number  taken  at  random  of  the  lowest  stratum  of 
society  had  been  surrounded  from  their  birth  by 
exactly  the  same  conditions  by  which  the  intelligent 
class  has  been  surrounded,  they  would  in  fact  have 
constituted  the  intelligent  class  instead  of  the  par- 
ticular individuals  who  happen  actually  to  consti- 
tute it.  In  other  words,  class  distinctions  in  soci- 
ety are  wholly  artificial,  depend  entirely  on  environ- 
ing conditions,  and  are  in  no  sense  due  to  differ- 
ences in  native  capacity.  Differences  in  native 
capacity  exist,  and  are  as  great  as  they  have  ever 
been  pictured,  but  they  exist  in  all  classes  alike." 

"  The  proposition  that  the  lower  classes  of  soci- 
ety are  the  intellectual  equals  of  the  upper  classes," 
he  says  in  another  place,  "  will  probably  shock 
most  minds.  At  least  it  will  be  almost  unanimously 
rejected  as  false.  Yet  I  do  not  hesitate  to  main- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  103 

tain  and  defend  it  as  an  abstract  proposition." 
(Page  95.) 

Ferdinand  Lassalle  long  ago  pointed  out  that 
the  upper  classes  in  order  to  defend  their  class 
privileges  were  obliged  to  oppose  human  progress. 
It  is  true  that,  here  and  there,  there  shines  out  like 
a  beacon-light  on  the  tragic  pages  of  human  his- 
tory the  name  of  a  truly  noble  noble  who  rose  above 
his  petty  class  interests  and  gave  his  life  and  talents 
freely  to  humanity;  but  it  is  but  too  true  that  the 
majority  of  the  upper  classes  in  all  times  have  been 
led,  consciously  sometimes,  but  far  more  often  un- 
consciously, by  their  class  interests  to  oppose  the 
forward  march  of  humanity.  Fortunately  for 
those  whom  you  describe  as  "  low-caste  men  "  they 
are  free  from  this  demoralizing  influence,  for,  to 
quote  Lassalle,  "  the  working  class  is  the  last  and 
outside  of  all,  the  disinterested  class  of  the  com- 
munity, which  sets  up  and  can  set  up  no  further  ex- 
clusive condition,  either  legal  or  actual,  neither  no- 
bility nor  landed  possessions  nor  the  possession  of 
capital,  which  it  could  make  into  a  new  privilege 
and  force  upon  the  arrangements  of  society. 

"  We  are  all  workingmen  in  so  far  as  we  have 
even  the  will  to  make  ourselves  useful  in  any  way 
to  the  community. 

"  This  working  class  in  whose  heart  therefore 
no  germ  of  a  new  privilege  is  contained,  is  for  this 
very  reason  synonymous  with  the  whole  human 
race.  Its  interest  is  in  truth  the  interest  of  the 

IO4  Men  vs.  the  Man 

whole  of  humanity,  its  freedom  is  the  freedom  of 
humanity  itself,  and  its  domination  is  the  domina- 
tion of  all. 

"  Whoever  therefore  invokes  the  idea  of  the 
working  class  as  the  ruling  principle  of  society,  in 
the  sense  in  which  I  have  explained  it  to  you,  does 
not  put  forth  a  cry  that  divides  and  separates  the 
classes  of  society.  On  the  contrary,  he  utters  a 
cry  of  reconciliation,  a  cry  which  embraces  the 
whole  of  the  community,  a  cry  for  doing  away  with 
all  the  contradictions  in  every  circle  of  society,  a 
cry  of  union  in  which  all  should  join  who  do  not 
wish  for  privileges,  and  the  oppression  of  the  peo- 
ple by  privileged  classes;  a  cry  of  love  which, 
having  once  gone  up  from  the  heart  of  the  people, 
will  forever  remain  the  true  cry  of  the  people,  and 
whose  meaning  will  make  it  still  a  cry  of  love,  even 
when  it  sounds  the  war  cry  of  the  people." 

Weismann  pointed  out  the  biological  reasons  for 
the  sociological  facts  stated  by  Lester  F.  Ward 
in  the  passages  I  have  quoted  when  he  tried  to  show 
that  acquired  characteristics  were  not  inherited, 
but  Weismann's  theories  have  always  been  dis- 
puted, though  unquestionably  the  majority  of  mod- 
ern scientists  have  inclined  to  agree  with  him. 
But  it  was  left  for  Gregor  Mendel  to  establish  by 
proof  almost  as  clear  as  a  demonstration  in  Euclid 
that  the  characteristics,  talents,  aptitudes,  and 
graces  acquired  by  education  and  environment  can- 
not be  transmitted  by  heredity.  But,  as  Mendel 

Men  vs.  the  Man  105 

was  both  an  Austrian  and  a  Christian  monk,  I  shall 
expect  you  to  give  but  scant  attention  to  the  re- 
markable results  of  his  biological  studies.  At  any 
rate  I  shall  not  prolong  this  letter  to  tell  you  more 
about  him  here. 

In  my  next  letter  I  may  tell  you  more  about 
him,  and  I  shall  certainly  admit  your  charge  that 
Socialists  are  prone  to  accept  evidence  and  theories 
that  tend  to  help  their  side  of  the  argument,  and  I 
shall  show  you  that  this  peculiarity  is  not  confined 
to  Socialists,  and  I  shall  draw  some  interesting  de- 
ductions from  these  facts. 

In  closing  permit  me  to  commend  to  your  prayer- 
ful consideration  the  following  excerpt  from  the 
editorial  columns  of  the  esteemed  Boston  Tran- 

11  Whatever  the  outcome  of  the  Socialist  move- 
ment in  this  country,  ill-considered  opinions  on  the 
subject  are  likely  to  be  less  frequent  in  the  future 
than  they  have  been.  President  Roosevelt,  ac- 
cording to  an  apparently  well  authenticated  story, 
recently  wrote  a  paper  on  Socialism,  severely  ar- 
raigning what  he  supposed  to  be  its  fundamental 
propositions.  His  article  was  submitted  for 
criticism  to  two  sociologists,  neither  of  them  pro- 
fessed Socialists,  as  it  happened,  but  both  con- 
versant with  the  literature  of  the  subject.  So  ad- 
verse was  their  judgment  regarding  the  Presidential 
effort  that  Mr.  Roosevelt  tore  it  up,  against  the 
time  when  he  could  more  thoroughly  investigate 

io6  Men  vs.  the  Man 

the    actual   status    of   present-day    Socialist    doc- 

While  I  know  that  you  greatly  admire  Mr. 
Roosevelt  for  his  insistent  and  incessant  preaching 
of  the  Nietzschean  doctrine  of  the  strenuous  life, 
I  sincerely  trust  that  in  this  instance  you  will  not 
permit  yourself  to  be  tempted  to  follow  his  il- 
lustrious example. 





Your  letter,  like  the  book  of  Leviticus,  deals 
with  a  multitude  of  subjects,  and  I  cannot  hope  to 
make  a  comprehensive  reply  to  all  the  propositions 
it  lays  down.  In  this  emergency  I  shall  have  to 
adopt  the  method  known  to  professors  of  wrestling 
as  catch-as-catch-can.  That  is  to  say,  I  shall  be- 
gin at  the  beginning  and  proceed,  as  gracefully  as 
possible,  to  the  end;  maintaining,  all  the  while,  a 
careful  look-out,  and  dealing,  from  time  to  time, 
deft  wallops  at  such  of  your  arguments,  theories, 
and  ideas  as  may  appear  to  stand  in  greatest  need 
of  chastisement  and  controversion. 

At  the  very  start  you  accuse  me  of  a  violent, 
and  even  vile,  inconsistency,  and  by  all  the  rules  of 
evidence,  in  such  cases  made  and  provided,  you 
also  convict  me.  But  I  shall  show  you,  I  believe 
(and  if  you  have  ever  sat  in  a  court  of  justice  and 
listened  to  its  endless  comedy,  you  will  scarcely 
need  this  proof) ,  that  the  rules  of  evidence  have 
nothing  whatever  to  do  with  the  laws  of  logic  and 
common  sense. 

Specifically,  you  make  allegation  that  I  have 

io8  Men  vs.  the  Man 

been  blowing  both  hot  and  cold.  In  one  place, 
you  point  out,  I  maintain  that  a  sudden  and  rapid 
increase  of  population,  among  the  lower  orders, 
would  be  a  menace  to  human  progress ;  and  in  some 
other  place  I  pay  eloquent  tribute  to  Pasteur  and 
his  ilk,  whose  delving  into  culture-tubes  has  re- 
duced the  death-rate  of  all  orders,  high  and  low. 
On  the  face  of  the  thing,  I  seem  to  argue  here,  (a) 
that  it  is  well  to  let  the  ape-men  die;  and  (b)  that 
we  should  encourage  pathologists  to  save  them. 
But  this  seeming,  my  dear  La  Monte,  is  only 

Your  error  lies  in  your  neglect  of  the  vast  dif- 
ference between  an  increase  in  population  in  which 
the  lowest  caste  makes  the  greatest  strides,  and  an 
increase  in  population  in  which,  if  there  is  any  rela- 
tive advantage  at  all,  the  highest  caste  enjoys  it. 
It  is  an  increase  of  the  first  sort  that  would  appear 
if  all  the  wealth  in  the  world  to-day  were  dis- 
tributed among  the  loafers  and  incompetents.  But 
it  is  an  increase  of  the  second  sort  that  appears 
when  the  doctors  happen  upon  some  new  antitoxin, 
vaccine,  rule  of  clean  living  or  health  resort. 

It  must  be  plain  to  you,  I  am  sure,  that  the 
epoch-making  medical  discoveries  of  the  last  half- 
century  have  benefited  the  lowest  caste  far  less 
than  they  have  benefited  the  highest  caste.  If  you 
have  never  given  the  matter  thought,  just  consider, 
for  a  moment,  the  case  of  tuberculosis.  Fifty 
years  ago  the  mortality  in  this  wide-spread  disease, 

Men  vs.  the  Man  109 

among  all  who  developed  the  secondary  symptoms, 
high  and  low,  rich  and  poor  alike,  was  probably 
not  far  from  sixty  per  cent.  To-day,  among  in- 
telligent persons  of  the  higher  castes,  the  mortality 
is  not  much  above  twenty  per  cent.;  but  among 
the  lowest  caste  of  negroes  and  foreigners  it  is  still 
well  over  fifty  per  cent. 

And  why  ?  The  ready  answer  is  that  the  treat- 
ment of  tuberculosis  is  a  tedious  and  exceedingly 
expensive  business,  and  that  those  patients  who  are 
poor  and  friendless  must  perforce  die.  This  is  a 
fair  enough  answer,  so  far  as  it  goes,  but  it  does  not 
go  very  far.  In  place  of  it  I  wish  to  offer  an- 
other answer,  and  it  is  this:  that  the  majority  of 
persons  who  succumb  to  preventable  and  curable 
diseases  to-day  go  down  to  their  graves,  not  so 
much  because  they  are  poor,  as  because  they  are 
ignorant — because  they  are  handicapped  by  the 
low-caste  man's  chronic  and  ineradicable  suspi- 
ciousness,  orthodoxy,  stupidity,  lack  of  foresight, 
and  inability  to  learn. 

My  own  city  of  Baltimore,  on  account  of  its 
wealth  of  hospitals  and  clinics,  has  been  called  the 
medical  capital  of  the  New  World.  Its  hospitals 
are  open  to  all,  and  those  who  cannot  pay  are  given 
treatment  free.  It  is  possible  for  a  man  without 
a  cent  in  his  pocket  to  profit  by  the  skill  of  the 
greatest  physicians  and  surgeons  in  America.  Be- 
yond the  city  boundaries  are  free  sanitoria  for  the 
treatment  of  tuberculosis  and  other  infectious  dis- 

no  Men  vs.  the  Man 

eases.  Medicines  and  nursing  are  free.  Those 
too  ill  to  move  are  treated  and  nursed  in  their 
homes.  The  attentions  for  which  visitors  from 
all  parts  of  the  country  pay  thousands  of  dollars 
are  free  to  every  indigent  citizen.  And  yet  the 
death-rate  of  Baltimore  is  higher  than  that  of  any 
other  city  of  its  size  in  the  United  States. 

The  Christian  Scientists,  of  course,  say  that  this 
is  because  there  are  so  many  hospitals,  but  the  real 
reason  lies  in  the  fact  that  among  Baltimore's 
600,000  inhabitants  there  are  100,000  negroes 
and  200,000  ignorant  and  superstitious  foreigners. 
The  negroes,  when  they  grow  ill,  take  patent  medi- 
cines or  send  for  some  frowsy  quack  of  their  own 
race.  When  they  grow  worse,  they  summon  a 
filthy  black  ecclesiastic  and  begin  to  pray  to  God. 
The  result  is  that  the  death-rate  among  the  lowest 
classes  of  these  semi-human  savages  is  fully  sixty 
per  thousand  per  annum.  This  is  just  about  five 
times  the  normal  death-rate  among  civilized  white 

Is  the  negro — or  low-caste  white  man — to  blame 
for  his  poverty  and  ignorance  ?  No  more,  I  think, 
than  he  is  to  blame  for  his  filthiness  and  dishonesty. 
He  can't  help  being  lazy  and  he  can't  help  being 
stupid,  for  he  is  a  low-caste  man,  and  he  has  a 
low-caste  mind.  That  mind  is  unable  to  grasp  any 
but  the  most  elemental  concepts.  Tell  him,  as  his 
pastors  tell  him,  that  if  he  gives  five  cents  to  the 
church  he  will  be  saved  from  hell,  and  he  can  un- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  in 

derstand  it.  But  try  to  make  him  grasp  the  com- 
plicated chains  of  ratiocination  whereby  civilized 
man  has  determined  that  vaccination  will  almost 
infallibly  prevent  smallpox  and  rabies,  that  quinine 
will  cure  malaria,  and  that  a  long  and  complex 
treatment  will  arrest  tuberculosis — and  he  is  as 
pitifully  helpless  as  the  average  college  professor 
in  the  presence  of  a  problem  not  solved  in  the  text- 

I  think  you  perceive,  by  now,  that  I  do  not 
regard  Pasteur  and  his  fellow-explorers  as  saviours 
of  the  great  masses.  Their  work,  true  enough, 
has  perceptibly  alleviated  the  sufferings  of  even  the 
lowest  castes,  but  its  chief  value,  by  long  odds,  has 
been  to  the  higher  castes.  It  is  only,  indeed,  by 
reason  of  the  despotic  intimidation  of  these  higher 
castes — an  intimidation,  it  may  be  said,  which  al- 
ways has  its  chief  spring  in  notions  of  self-defense 
—that  the  lower  castes  have  been  compelled,  willy 
nilly,  to  enjoy  any  benefit  at  all.  We  vaccinate 
negroes,  not  because  they  want  to  be  vaccinated  or 
because  we  harbor  a  yearning  to  preserve  their 
useless  lives,  but  because  we  don't  want  them  to 
fall  ill  of  smallpox  in  our  kitchens  and  stables,  and 
so  expose  us  to  inconvenience,  danger,  and  ex- 
pense. With  few  exceptions,  they  are  piously  op- 
posed to  baring  their  arms,  and  regard  the  neces- 
sity for  so  doing  as  proof  positive  that  they  are 
down-trodden  and  oppressed.  Let  them  choose 
for  themselves,  and  they  would  be  dying  of  small- 

ii2  Men  vs.  the  Man 

pox  to-day  just  as  copiously  as  they  are  dying  of 

In  their  vain  rebellion  against  the  very  things 
which  make  life  bearable  for  them,  they  reveal  the 
eternal  philosophy  of  the  low-caste  man.  He  is 
forever  down-trodden  and  oppressed.  He  is  for- 
ever opposed  to  a  surrender  of  his  immemorial 
superstitions,  prejudices,  swinishness,  and  inertia. 
He  is  forever  certain  that,  if  only  some  god  would 
lend  him  a  hand  and  give  him  his  just  rights,  he 
would  be  rich,  happy,  and  care-free.  And  he  is 
forever  and  utterly  wrong. 

I  am  glad  you  made  necessary  all  this  explana- 
tion of  my  apparent  inconsistency,  for  it  gives  me 
a  chance  to  explain  another  matter  in  which  you 
probably  misunderstand  me.  The  thing  I  refer 
to  may  be  best  indicated,  perhaps,  by  the  question, 
what  factors  determine  the  caste  of  a  man?  You 
Socialists  are  prone  to  assume  that  all  who  stand 
without  your  ranks  subscribe  to  what  you  call  the 
capitalistic  or  bourgeois  theory  of  civilization,  and 
I  have  no  doubt  that  you  regard  me  as  one  of  its 
advocates.  That  is  to  say,  you  probably  believe 
that  I  judge  a  man's  importance  by  his  material 
success  in  life — that  I  look  upon  all  poor  men 
as  men  of  low  caste,  ipso  facto,  and  all  million- 
aires, nobles,  and  governmental  functionaries 
as  men  of  high  caste.  But  that  is  by  no  means 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  standards  I  should  like 

Men  vs.  the  Man  113 

to  set  up  are  far  more  complicated  than  this  bour- 
geois test.  They  admit  many  a  relatively  poor 
man  to  the  highest  of  all  castes,  and  they  place 
many  a  very  rich  man  in  that  nadir  caste  which 
offers  a  refuge  for  the  congenital  idiot,  the  scrofu- 
lous, the  faith-curist,  and  the  believer  in  signs, 
hunches  and  St.  Anthony  of  Padua.  They  are 
standards,  as  I  have  said,  of  a  certain  complexity, 
and  if,  at  times,  they  seem  to  admit  one  and  the 
same  man  to  both  a  very  high  caste  and  a  very  low 
one,  I  have  only  to  urge  in  their  defense  that  human 
existence  is  a  very  complex  and  puzzling  thing, 
and  that  I  have  no  faith  whatever  in  the  socialistic 
idea  that  it  will  be  possible,  some  day,  to  solve  all 
of  its  riddles  with  one  master-equation. 

Well,  then,  what  virtues  do  I  demand  in  the 
man  who  claims  enrollment  in  the  highest  caste? 
Briefly,  I  demand  that  he  possess,  to  an  unusual  and 
striking  degree,  all  of  those  qualities,  or  most  of 
them,  which  most  obviously  distinguish  the  average 
man  from  the  average  baboon.  If  you  look  into 
the  matter,  you  will  find  that  the  chief  of  these 
qualities  is  a  sort  of  restless  impatience  with  things 
as  they  are — a  sort  of  insatiable  desire  to  help  along 
the  evolutionary  process.  The  man  who  possesses 
this  quality  is  ceaselessly  eager  to  increase  and 
fortify  his  mastery  of  his  environment.  He  has  a 
vast  curiosity  and  a  vast  passion  for  solving  the 
problems  it  unfolds  before  him.  His  happiness 
lies  in  the  consciousness  that  he  has  made  some 

ii4  Men  vs.  the  Man 

progress  to-day  in  comprehending  and  turning  to 
his  uses  those  forces  which  menaced  him  yesterday. 
His  eye  is  fixed,  not  upon  heaven,  but  upon  earth; 
not  upon  eternity,  but  upon  to-morrow.  He  enters 
the  world  infinitely  superior  to  a  mere  brute,  and 
when  he  leaves  it  his  superiority  may  be  expressed 
(in  bad  algebra)  by  infinity  plus  x.  By  his  life 
and  labors,  the  human  race,  or  some  part  of  it, 
makes  some  measurable  progress,  however  small, 
upward  from  the  ape. 

You  will  observe  that  this  fine  frenzy  for  im- 
provement, for  change,  for  progress,  is  entirely 
absent  in  even  the  highest  of  the  lower  animals. 
It  is  also  absent,  perhaps,  in  the  very  lowest  types 
of  human  beings ;  but  here,  at  least,  it  certainly  be- 
gins to  appear  far  down  the  scale.  The  most  ig- 
norant and  miserable  slave  in  central  Asia  is  able, 
I  take  it,  to  formulate  some  idea  of  a  state  of 
being  preferable  to  his  own;  just  as  the  most  de- 
graded American  negro  is  equal  to  the  concept  of  a 
land  flowing  with  milk  and  honey.  But  here  we 
begin  to  note  a  distinction  which  differentiates  the 
merely  sentient  man  from  the  unmistakably  higher 
man.  The  one  dreams  chaotic  dreams,  without 
working  out  practicable  plans  for  their  realiza- 
tion. The  other,  having  efficiency  as  well  as 
imagination,  makes  the  thing  itself  arise  out  of  the 
idea  of  it.  The  one  pins  his  faith  to  Christianity, 
Socialism,  or  some  other  vaporous  miracle-cult. 
The  other  peers  through  microscopes,  builds  great 

Men  vs.  the  Man  115 

steamships,  reclaims  deserts,  makes  laws,  and  over- 
turns the  gods. 

And  so  I  arrive  at  my  definition  of  the  first- 
caste  man.  He  is  one  whose  work  in  the  world 
increases,  to  some  measurable  extent,  that  ever- 
widening  gap  which  separates  civilized  man  from 
the  protozoon  in  the  sea  ooze.  It  is  possible,  you 
will  note,  for  a  man  to  amass  billions,  and  yet 
lend  no  hand  in  this  progress;  and  it  is  possible, 
again,  for  a  man  to  live  in  poverty,  and  yet  set 
the  clock  ahead  a  thousand  years.  It  is  possible, 
once  more,  for  a  man  to  aid  progress  in  one  way 
and  aid  reaction  in  some  other  way.  And  so,  to 
sum  up,  it  is  possible  for  a  poor  man  to  belong  to 
the  highest  caste  of  men,  and  for  a  rich  man  to 
belong  to  the  lowest;  and  it  is  possible,  again, 
for  one  and  the  same  man  to  belong,  at  different 
times  or  even  at  the  same  time,  to  both  castes.  If 
you  think  this  last  idea  an  absurdity,  let  me  cite 
John  D.  Rockefeller  as  an  example.  His  vast  im- 
provements in  the  interchange  of  commodities  en- 
title him  to  a  place  in  the  front  rank  of  those  whose 
lives  have  made  for  human  progress;  and  yet  his 
belief,  as  a  good  Baptist,  that  total  immersion  in 
water  is  a  necessary  prerequisite  for  entry  into 
heaven,  places  him,  quite  unmistakably,  in  the  low- 
est caste  of  superstitious  barbarians. 

Now,  what  I  want  to  insist  upon,  in  all  this,  is 
that  the  distinction  I  have  described  is  the  product, 
not  so  much  of  varying  environment  as  of  inborn 

n6  Men  vs.  the  Man 

differences.  I  admit  freely  enough  that,  by  care- 
ful breeding,  supervision  of  environment  and  edu- 
cation, extending  over  many  generations,  it  might 
be  possible  to  make  an  appreciable  improvement 
in  the  stock  of  the  American  negro,  for  example, 
but  I  must  maintain  that  this  enterprise  would  be 
a  ridiculous  waste  of  energy,  for  there  is  a  high- 
caste  white  stock  ready  to  hand,  and  it  is  inconceiv- 
able that  the  negro  stock,  however  carefully  it 
might  be  nurtured,  could  ever  even  remotely  ap- 
proach it.  The  educated  negro  of  to-day  is  a 
failure,  not  because  he  meets  insuperable  diffi- 
culties in  life,  but  because  he  is  a  negro.  His  brain 
is  not  fitted  for  the  higher  forms  of  mental  effort; 
his  ideals,  no  matter  how  laboriously  he  is  trained 
and  sheltered,  remain  those  of  the  clown.  He  is, 
in  brief,  a  low-caste  man,  to  the  manner  born,  and 
he  will  remain  inert  and  inefficient  until  fifty  gen- 
erations of  him  have  lived  in  civilization.  And 
even  then,  the  superior  white  race  will  be  fifty  gen- 
erations ahead  of  him. 

I  have  used  the  negro  as  an  example  because  in 
him  the  inherited  marks  of  the  low-caste  man  are 
peculiarly  conspicuous.  In  some  of  the  European 
peasants  who  are  now  coming  to  America — and 
particularly  in  those  from  Russia — the  same  marks 
are  to  be  seen.  These  peasants  differ  as  much 
from  the  high-caste  white  man  as  a  mustang  differs 
from  a  Kentucky  stallion,  and  this  difference  is  the 
product,  not  of  their  actual  environment,  but  of 

Men  vs.  the  Man  117 

their  forefathers'  environment  through  innumer- 
able generations.  They  represent  a  step  in  the  lad- 
der of  evolution  below  that  of  the  civilized  white 
man,  and  no  conceivable  change  of  environment 
could  lift  them  to  the  top  en  masse,  in  a  lifetime. 
Individuals  of  extraordinary  capacity  occasionally 
appear  among  them — the  naturalists  call  such  ab- 
normal individuals  "  sports  "  —and  pass  over  auto- 
matically and  at  once  into  some  higher  caste.  But 
they  can  get  no  higher  than  a  caste  in  which  in- 
dividuals fully  equal  to  them  are  the  rule  instead 
of  the  exception;  and  the  generality  of  their  race 
must  forever  remain  below. 

Castes  are  not  made  by  man,  but  by  nature. 
They  will  be  inevitable  so  long  as  every  genus  of 
living  beings  in  the  world  is  divided  into  species, 
and  every  species  is  made  up  of  individuals  whose 
resemblance  to  one  another,  however  close  it  may 
be,  never  reaches  identity.  It  is  this  variation 
which  makes  progress  possible,  for  it  gives  certain 
individuals  an  advantage  in  the  struggle  for  ex- 
istence, and  these  individuals  tend  to  crowd  out 
their  weaker  brothers,  and  to  make  their  own 
heartier  qualities  dominant  in  the  general  racial 
strain.  Among  the  lower  animals  the  struggle  for 
existence  is  frankly  a  matter  of  dog  eat  dog. 
Among  men,  it  is  more  elusive,  and  the  alert,  curi- 
ous, intelligent  man  I  have  described  has  an  even 
greater  advantage,  perhaps,  than  the  man  of  mere 
physical  vigor.  But  whether  the  weapons  in  the 

n8  Men  vs.  the  Man 

struggle  be  sharp  teeth  or  efficient  brains,  there 
must  always  be  a  caste  of  victors  and  a  caste  of 
vanquished.  Any  effort  to  suspend  the  struggle  is 
empty  vanity — and  I  here  use  the  word  in  both  of 
its  common  meanings. 

But  Professor  Ward  dissents.  He  holds  that 
"  class  distinctions  in  society  are  wholly  artificial, 
depend  entirely  upon  environing  conditions,  and 
are  in  no  sense  due  to  differences  in  native  capacity." 
At  first  sight  this  sentence  seems  to  be  an  un- 
qualified denial  of  the  law  of  natural  selection — a 
thesis,  I  fancy,  that  not  even  a  Socialist  would  care 
to  maintain — but,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  Professor 
Ward  is  merely  trying  to  argue  that  congenital 
differences,  while  actually  existing,  are  counter- 
balanced by  class  privileges  and  vested  rights.  In 
other  words,  he  believes  that  a  man's  place  in  the 
world  is  determined,  not  by  the  intelligence  and 
capacity  he  brings  into  the  world,  but  by  the  for- 
tuitous circumstances,  opportunities,  and  surround- 
ings he  encounters  after  his  arrival.  A  man  with 
the  intellect  of  a  Huxley,  born  to  a  family  of 
Baptist  farm  laborers,  may  remain  ignorant,  super- 
stitious, and  degraded  until  the  end  of  his  days. 
And  a  man  but  a  hair's  breadth  removed  from 
imbecility,  born  to  a  noble  house,  may  square  the 
circle  or  change  the  map  of  the  world. 

This  theory,  as  I  have  before  indicated,  is  the 
favorite  fallacy  and  chief  solace  of  all  degenerate 
and  inefficient  races  of  men.  "  If  I  had  a  million 

Men  vs.  the  Man  119 

dollars  " — but  you  know  the  rest  of  it  as  well  as  I. 
It  is  one  of  the  multitude  of  sophistries  that  meet 
the  pragmatic  test  of  truth,  for  it  plainly  makes 
life  more  bearable.  The  man  who  formulates  it 
enjoys  a  comforting  glow  of  relief,  of  conscious 
virtue,  of  martyrdom.  He  has  found  a  scapegoat 
to  bear  the  blame  for  his  inability  to  rise  above 
the  morass  in  which  he  wallows,  and  that  scape- 
goat he  variously  denominates  fate,  luck,  civiliza- 
tion, plutocracy,  privilege,  the  protective  tariff,  civil 
service  reform,  or  the  devil. 

If,  as  the  pragmatists  and  supernaturalists  would 
have  us  believe,  the  mere  persistence  and  agreeable- 
ness  of  an  idea  were  proofs  of  its  truth,  this 
one  would  be  perpetually  and  indubitably  true. 
But  I  cannot  bring  myself  to  accept  so  ingenuous  a 
gnosiology.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  I  am  firmly 
convinced  that  the  idea  we  are  discussing  tends  to 
become,  not  true,  but  false,  in  exact  ratio  to  its  per- 
sistence and  agreeableness.  That  is  to  say,  in  the 
case  of  a  man  to  whom  it  occurs  but  occasionally 
and  then  only  in  moments  of  emotional  weakness, 
it  may  be  true  very  often.  But  in  the  case  of  the 
man  who  adopts  it  as  his  working  philosophy  of 
life,  it  is  not  true  more  than  once  in  ten  million 

The  efficient  man  of  highest  caste  makes  it  his 
rule  to  accept  the  world  as  he  finds  it,  and  to  work 
out  his  own  salvation  with  a  light  heart.  His  joy 
is  in  effort,  in  work,  in  progress.  A  difficulty  over- 

Men  vs.  the  Man 

come,  a  riddle  solved,  an  enemy  vanquished,  a  fact 
proved,  an  error  destroyed — in  such  things  he 
finds  the  meaning  of  life  and  surcease  from  its 
sorrows.  But  the  inefficient  man,  unable  by  his 
own  hand  and  brain  to  cope  with  the  conditions 
which  beset  and  menace  him,  seeks  refuge,  soon  or 
late,  in  the  notion  that  the  world  is  out  of  joint. 
Sometimes  he  concludes,  finally,  that  the  horrors  of 
existence  are  irremediable,  and  then  he  is  ripe  for 
religion,  with  its  promises  of  repayment  in  some 
gaseous  paradise  beyond  the  grave.  At  other 
times  he  arrives  at  the  idea  that  all  would  be  well 
if  there  were  some  abysmal  reconstruction  of  the 
scheme  of  things — some  new  deal  of  the  cards,  with 
four  aces  pushed  his  way.  When  this  madness 
falls  upon  him  he  gropes  about  for  a  ready  guide 
to  the  Utopia  that  arises  nebulously  in  his  brain. 
And  thus  it  is  that  discontented,  ignorant,  helpless 
men  subscribe  to  the  poetical  fancies  of  imaginative 
dreamers,  and  become  single-taxers,  Christian 
Scientists,  Anarchists,  or  Socialists. 

The  great  objections  to  Socialism,  as  a  philoso- 
phy, are  that  it  encourages  and  aggravates  the  feel- 
ing of  martyrdom  which  burns  in  the  breasts  of 
all  such  incompetents,  and  that  it  inflames  them,  at 
the  same  time,  with  the  idea  that  their  discomfort 
is  due,  not  to  the  operation  of  natural  laws,  which 
benefit  the  world  by  ridding  it  automatically  and 
harshly  of  the  unfit,  but  to  the  deliberate  and  devil- 
ish cruelty  of  their  betters.  Your  true  Socialist  is 

Men  vs.  the  Man  121 

firmly  convinced,  before  everything  else,  that  his 
personal  existence  is  of  vast  and  undoubted  value 
to  the  world,  and  that  the  world,  if  it  were  not  a 
swindling  felon,  would  reward  him  handsomely 
for  remaining  alive. 

Now,  since  the  majority  of  all  Socialists  belong 
to  the  laboring  class,  and  get  their  living  by  join- 
ing their  muscle-power  to  the  natural  forces  which 
man  has  harnessed — because  of  this  circumstance, 
the  general  idea  I  have  set  forth  is  transformed, 
by  Socialists,  into  the  specific  doctrine  that  the  only 
truly  valuable  man  is  the  "  producer."  That  is  to 
say,  the  only  human  service  which  fully  earns  and 
deserves  the  reward  provided  by  the  law  of  sup- 
ply and  demand,  is  that  sort  of  service  which  re- 
sults in  the  production  of  some  commodity  neces- 
sary to  the  actual  day-to-day  existence  of  mankind. 
Such  a  service  deserves,  not  some  definite  reward, 
but  all  the  reward  that  those  who  require  it  may 
be  bludgeoned  into  paying  for  it.  Thus  the 
farmer  who  hoes  a  cabbage  patch,  and  by  taking 
advantage  of  the  hunger  of  his  fellow-men,  makes 
them  pay  for  his  cabbages,  is,  by  the  socialistic 
philosophy,  a  virtuous  man.  His  fellow-men  have 
less  cabbages  than  they  need  and  the  farmer  him- 
self has  more  than  he  needs.  Very  well,  then,  let 
them  pay  his  price !  But  the  man  who  has  a  sur- 
plus of  some  other  valuable  thing,  say  shrewdness, 
capital,  forethought,  intelligence,  or  cunning,  and 
demands  a  fair  profit  on  the  exchange  from  those 

122  Men  vs.  the  Man 

who  have  less  than  they  need,  and  desire  to  buy  of 
him — this  man,  by  the  socialistic  philosophy,  is  a 

You  Socialists,  my  dear  La  Monte,  here  over- 
look the  fact  that  no  man  worthy  of  the  name  is 
content  to  stand  still.  He  wants  to  be  richer,  more 
learned  or  more  powerful  to-morrow  than  he  was 
yesterday.  In  other  words,  he  looks,  not  only  for 
a  fair  equivalent,  but  also  for  a  profit,  in  all  of  his 
exchanges  with  his  fellow-men.  Your  laboring 
brothers  are  demanding  that  profit  to-day.  They 
want,  not  only  fair  wages,  but  the  whole  value 
of  the  things  they  produce.  Well,  the  same  selfish 
weakness  afflicts  their  masters,  too.  The  latter, 
when  they  buy  muscle-power,  want  enough  to  bal- 
ance the  money  they  pay  for  it — and  a  profit  be- 
side. The  laboring  man  has  nothing  to  give  ex- 
cept muscle-power,  and  so,  after  he  has  given 
enough  of  it  to  balance  his  pay,  he  must  give  a  lit- 
tle more  to  make  up  his  master's  profit.  As  I  have 
told  you  in  the  past,  I  think  you  greatly  exagger- 
ate the  actual  percentage  of  profit,  in  all  such  trans- 
actions; but  that  there  always  is  a  profit,  and  a 
distinctly  appreciable  one,  I  admit  very  readily. 
If  there  were  none  at  all,  no  efficient,  high-caste 
man  would  engage  in  industrial  enterprises;  for 
no  man  of  that  sort  could  possibly  rest  content 
with  standing  still. 





I  must  apologize  for  some  slight  delay  in  an- 
swering your  last  very  interesting  letter.  The  fact 
is  that  your  great  and  good  friend,  Mr.  Roosevelt, 
did  not  take  the  advice  of  his  sociological  friends 
and  destroy  his  anti-socialist  manuscripts,  but  in- 
stead unloaded  them  on  the  Outlook,  with  the 
result  that  on  the  very  day  I  had  set  apart  to 
write  to  you  I  received  a  hurry-up  call  for  a  reply 
to  that  eminent  Nietzschean,  our  ex-President. 

And  now,  when  I  should  be  planting  potatoes 
and  peas,  I  must  devote  a  few  hours  to  your  en- 
lightenment, but  my  little  encounter  with  Mr. 
Roosevelt  has  vastly  increased  my  respect  for  you. 
In  your  three  letters  thus  far  you  have  not  made 
as  many  blunders  as  Mr.  Roosevelt  perpetrated  in 
the  first  Outlook  article  alone,  and  you  have  never 
shown  a  tithe  of  the  bitterness. 

After  reading  your  letter  there  arose  in  my 
mind  a  picture  of  you  which,  had  I  the  pencil  of  a 
Ryan  Walker  or  a  McCutcheon,  I  should  draw 
for  you.  In  this  picture  you  are  hotly  pursued  by 
hostile  and  malevolent  Socialists,  and  seeing  no 
escape  elsewhere  you  have  sought  rescue  and  shel- 


124  Men  vs.  the  Man 

ter  by  throwing  yourself  into  the  arms  of  a  good 
old  Baltimore  colored  "  mammy."  Really,  this  pic- 
ture has  so  captivated  my  imagination  that  I  have 
not  the  heart  at  once  to  tear  you  from  her  pro- 
tecting arms.  For  the  present,  I  shall  content 
myself  by  warning  you  that  even  there  you  are  not 
safe  from  the  terrible  Socialists. 

I  should  never  have  guessed  from  the  appear- 
ance of  the  Baltimore  darky  that  he  (or  she)  was 
the  Palladium  of  our  sacred  institutions.  But,  in 
the  language  of  Bernard  Shaw,  "  You  never  can 
tell."  This  important  role  has,  by  most  critics  of 
Socialism,  been  forced  upon  that  humble  and  use- 
ful person,  the  scavenger. 

"  I  have  seldom,"  says  Robert  Blatchford  in 
"  Merrie  England,"  "  heard  an  argument  or  read 
an  adverse  letter  or  speech  against  the  claims  of 
justice  in  social  matters,  but  our  friend  the 
scavenger  played  a  prominent  part  therein.  Truly 
this  scavenger  is  a  most  important  person.  Yet 
one  would  not  suppose  that  the  whole  cosmic 
scheme  revolved  on  him  as  on  an  axis;  one  would 
not  imagine  him  to  be  the  keystone  of  European 
society — at  least  his  appearance  and  his  wages 
would  not  justify  such  an  assumption.  But  I  begin 
to  believe  that  the  fear  of  the  scavenger  is  really 
the  source  and  fountain  head,  the  life  and  blood 
and  breath  of  all  conservatism.  Good  old 
scavenger!  His  ash-pan  is  the  bulwark  of  cap- 
italism, and  his  besom  the  standard  around  which 

Men  vs.  the  Man  125 

rally  the  pride  and  the  culture  and  the  opulence 
of  British  society." 

Poor  old  scavenger !  His  occupation  has  gone ; 
you  have  given  his  job  of  "  saving  society  "  to  the 
Baltimore  darky. 

But  we  shall  return  to  the  "  colored  man  and 
brother  "  later.  At  present  I  want  to  express  my 
gratification  at  having  at  last  discovered  what  you 
mean  by  your  favorite  phrase,  "  high-caste  men." 
It  is  now  obvious  to  me  that  the  perfect  type  of 
your  first-caste  man  is  the  Christian  priest  or 

You  say  that  his  distinguishing  characteristic  is 
"  a  sort  of  insatiable  desire  to  help  along  the  evolu- 
tionary process."  In  other  words  he  shows  primi- 
tive animistic  habits  of  thought  by  exhibiting  what 
I  described  in  "  Socialism :  Positive  and  Nega- 
tive "  (page  97)  as  "the  tendency  to  give  a  tele- 
ological  interpretation  to  evolution,  to  attribute  a 
meliorative  trend  to  the  cosmic  process,  as  in  Ten- 
nyson's '  through  the  ages  one  increasing  purpose 


That  this  cropping  out  of  a  semi-theological 
habit  of  thought  in  your  last  letter  is  not  a  mere 
fortuitous  phrase,  but  is  on  the  contrary  part  and 
parcel  of  your  habitual  view  of  the  universe,  is 
shown  by  your  statement  in  your  first  letter  that 
your  "  creed  consists,  first  and  last,  in  a  firm  belief 
in  the  beneficence  and  permanence  of  the  evolu- 
tionary process." 

126  Men  vs.  the  Man 

Thorstein  Veblen  has  this  to  say  of  the  origin 
of  this  habit  of  attributing  ethical  purposes  or  ef- 
fects to  "  natural  laws  " : 

"  Along  with  the  habits  of  thought  peculiar  to 
the  technology  of  handicraft,  modern  science  also 
took  over  and  assimilated  much  of  the  institutional 
preconceptions  of  the  era  of  handicraft  and  petty 
trade.  The  '  natural  laws,'  with  the  formulation 
of  which  this  early  modern  science  is  occupied,  are 
the  rules  governing  natural  '  uniformities  of  se- 
quence/ and  they  punctiliously  formulate  the  due 
procedure  of  any  given  cause  creatively  working 
out  the  achievement  of  a  given  effect,  very  much 
as  the  craft  rules  sagaciously  specified  the  due 
routine  for  turning  out  a  staple  article  of  merchant- 
able goods.  But  these  *  natural  laws  '  of  science 
are  also  felt  to  have  something  of  that  integrity 
and  prescriptive  moral  force  that  belongs  to  the 
principles  of  the  system  of  '  natural  rights  '  which 
the  era  of  handicraft  has  contributed  to  the  insti- 
tutional scheme  of  later  times.  The  natural  laws 
were  not  only  held  to  be  true  to  fact,  but  they  were 
also  felt  to  be  right  and  good.  They  were  looked 
upon  as  intrinsically  meritorious  and  beneficent, 
and  were  held  to  carry  a  sanction  of  their  own. 
This  habit  of  uncritically  imputing  merit  and 
equity  to  the  4  natural  laws  '  of  science  continued 
in  force  through  much  of  the  nineteenth  century; 
very  much  as  the  habitual  acceptance  of  the  prin- 
ciples of  *  natural  rights '  has  held  on  by  force  of 

Men  vs.  the  Man  127 

tradition  long  after  the  exigencies  of  experience  out 
of  which  these  '  rights  '  sprang  ceased  to  shape 
men's  habits  of  life.  This  traditional  attitude  of 
submissive  approval  toward  the  '  natural  laws  '  of 
science  has  not  yet  been  wholly  lost,  even  among 
the  scientists  of  the  passing  generation,  many  of 
whom  have  uncritically  invested  these  '  laws  '  with 
a  prescriptive  rectitude  and  excellence;  but  so  far, 
at  least,  has  this  animus  progressed  toward  disuse 
that  it  is  now  chiefly  a  matter  for  expatiation  in 
the  pulpit,  the  accredited  vent  for  the  exudation  of 
effete  matter  from  the  cultural  organism."  * 

You,  my  dear  Mencken,  do  not  appear  to  be  yet 
wholly  free  from  anthropomorphic  habits  of 
thought,  as  it  is  obvious  you  give  the  clergy  no  in- 
considerable aid  in  their  onerous  task  of  exuding 
effete  matter  from  the  cultural  organism. 

My  own  ideal  man  would  be  a  man  wholly  de- 
voted to  promoting  human  happiness  (and  mind 
I  have  said  human  happiness,  not  a  hog's  concep- 
tion of  happiness),  and  who  would  be  entirely  pre- 
pared, in  case  it  should  be  necessary  to  achieve  his 
goal,  to  strive  manfully  to  modify,  avert,  or  de- 
feat the  *  natural '  results  of  the  evolutionary 
process.  The  man  who  feels  "  a  sort  of  insatiable 
desire  to  help  along  the  evolutionary  process  "  is 
still  fast  enmeshed  in  the  bonds  of  superstition,  and 

'THORSTEIN  VEBLEN.  "The  Evolution  of  the  Scientific 
Point  of  View."  University  of  California  Chronicle,  Vol.  X, 
pp.  4U-4I4. 

ia8  Men  vs.  the  Man 

has  merely  made  a  fetish  of  "  the  evolutionary 
process  "  to  erect  upon  the  altar  from  which  he  has 
hurled  the  old  gods. 

If  the  hypotheses  of  Mr.  Percival  Lowell  in  his 
recent  brilliant  book  on  Mars  are  correct,  the 
u  evolutionary  process "  there,  had  it  not  been 
modified  and  interfered  with  by  intelligence,  would 
by  this  time  have  almost  wholly  exterminated  both 
vegetable  and  animal  life  on  that  interesting  planet. 
But  whether  his  hypotheses  be  right  or  wrong,  this 
illustration  will  enable  you  to  conceive  that  circum- 
stances may  arise  that  will  make  the  opposing  of 
the  "  evolutionary  process  "  the  highest  function 
of  the  "  high-caste  man." 

But,  although  it  would  be  difficult  to  find  many 
educated  and  intelligent  men  to-day  outside  the 
ranks  of  the  clergy  who  could  give  in  an  unquali- 
fied allegiance  to  your  creed — the  creed  of  your 
"  men  of  the  first  caste  "  —I  know  well  enough 
that  it  is  not  your  belief  that  the  whole  scheme  of 
things  should  be  shaped  with  a  view  to  producing 
the  maximum  number  of  clergymen.  For  you,  in- 
deed, increase  of  the  priesthood  is  synonymous  with 

By  "  high-caste  men  "  you  really  mean  men  of 
intelligence  and  energy — truly  emancipated  men, 
and  if  the  increase  of  such  men  is  to  produce  the 
effects  you  expect,  you  must  also  impute  to  them 
kindly  emotions. 

But  will  not  your  "  high-caste  man  "  of  the 

Men  vs.  the  Man  129 

future  be  terribly  lonesome  amid  the  "  rabble  "  ? 
Without  insulting  the  good  people  of  Baltimore, 
may  I  ask  if  you  do  not  at  times  feel  impelled  to 
imitate  Bernard  Shaw's  Eugene  Marchbanks  in 
"  Candida  "  and  talk  to  yourself  out  loud?  "  That 
is  what  all  poets  do,"  Marchbanks  said,  "  they 
talk  to  themselves  out  loud;  and  the  world  over- 
hears them.  But  it's  horribly  lonely  not  to  hear 
someone  else  talk  sometimes." 

That  remark  pierces  the  fundamental  weak  spot 
in  your  ideal  and  Nietzsche's;  could  you  realize 
fully  your  ideal  to-morrow,  loneliness  would  turn 
your  paradise  for  Supermen  into  a  veritable 

Any  ideal  that  does  not  include  the  closest  pos- 
sible approximation  to  economic  equality  suffers 
from  this  same  vice.  Without  economic  equality, 
you  may  mitigate  but  you  cannot  eradicate  the  hell 
of  loneliness  which  to-day  makes  discontented  per- 
sons of  you  and  me  and  hosts  of  others.  "  A 
wholly  emancipated  person,"  says  Lester  F.  Ward, 
"  finds  himself  almost  completely  alone  in  the 
world.  There  is  not  one  perhaps  in  a  whole  city 
in  which  he  lives  with  whom  he  can  converse  five 
minutes,  because  the  moment  anyone  begins  to  talk 
he  reveals  the  fact  that  his  mind  is  a  bundle  of  er- 
rors, of  false  conceits,  of  superstitions,  and  of 
prejudices  that  render  him  utterly  uninteresting. 
The  great  majority  are  running  off  after  some  pop- 
ular fad.  Of  course  the  most  have  already  abro- 

130  Men  vs.  the  Man 

gated  their  reasoning  powers  entirely  by  accepting 
some  creed.  The  few  that  have  begun  to  doubt 
their  creed  are  looking  for  another.  They  may 
think  they  are  progressing,  but  their  credulity  is 
as  complete  as  ever,  and  they  are  utterly  devoid 
of  any  knowledge  by  which  to  test  the  credibility 
of  their  beliefs."  ("Applied  Sociology,"  page 
8 1.  Boston,  1906.) 

And  here  we  come  back  for  a  minute  or  two  to 
the  "  colored  man  and  brother."  As  long  as  you 
are  compelled  to  live  in  the  same  city  with  some 
thousands  of  negroes,  whom  you  appear  to  find 
more  or  less  uninteresting  as  fellow-citizens,  would 
it  not  be  wise  to  see  if  by  increased  opportunities 
they  might  not  be  made  more  interesting?  If 
poverty-stricken,  drunken  negroes  spreading  ver- 
min and  syphilis  and  other  contagion  throughout 
your  city  are,  as  they  undoubtedly  are,  a  perpetual 
menace  to  your  peace  and  happiness,  would  it  not 
be  wise  to  make  a  brave  and  honest  attempt  to  free 
the  negroes  from  poverty  and  syphilis  and 
drunkenness?  Would  not  Baltimore  then  be  a 
pleasanter  city  in  which  to  dwell  ? 

Unless  you  have  the  courage  to  go  to  the 
Nietzschean  extreme  and  boldly  advocate  the  ex- 
termination of  the  negro  (and  the  Russian  peas- 
ant, whom  you  place  in  the  same  category)  you 
must  join  the  Socialists  in  their  efforts  to  enable 
the  negroes  to  live  human  lives  under  human  con- 
ditions. For  the  people  of  Baltimore  this  is 

Men  vs.  the  Man  131 

merely  a  question  of  self-defense  or  rather  self- 

To  demand  for  the  negro  a  chance  to  live  a  truly 
human  life  is  not  to  assert  his  equality  in  all  re- 
spects with  the  white  race.  Says  Enrico  Ferri, 
"  Socialism  says:  Men  are  unequal,  but  they  are  all 

"  And,  in  fact,  although  each  individual  is  born 
and  develops  in  a  fashion  more  or  less  different 
from  that  of  all  other  individuals, — just  as  there 
are  not  in  a  forest  two  leaves  identically  alike,  so 
in  the  whole  world  there  are  not  two  men  in  all  re- 
spects equals,  the  one  of  the  other, — nevertheless 
every  man,  simply  because  he  is  a  human  being,  has 
a  right  to  the  existence  of  a  man,  and  not  of  a 
slave  or  a  beast  of  burden."  ("Socialism  and 
Modern  Science,"  pages  20,  21.  New  York, 

But  as  a  matter  of  fact  up  to  the  present  time 
negroes  as  a  race  have  enjoyed  so  few  opportuni- 
ties that  it  is  utterly  unscientific  to  dogmatize  about 
their  potentialities.  It  is  just  as  unwarranted  to 
deny  their  potential  future  equality  as  it  is  to 
deny  their  present  inequality. 

Lester  F.  Ward,  after  reviewing  the  evidence 
for  and  against  racial  inequality,  sums  up  the 
matter  as  follows : 

"  It  is  not  therefore  proved  that  intellectual  in- 
equality, which  can  be  safely  predicated  of  all 
classes  in  the  white  race,  in  the  yellow  race,  or  in 

132  Men  vs.  the  Man 

the  black  race,  each  taken  by  itself,  cannot  also  be 
predicated  of  all  races  taken  together,  and  it  is 
still  more  clear  that  there  is  no  race  and  no  class 
of  human  beings  who  are  incapable  of  assimilating 
the  social  achievement  of  mankind  and  of  profita- 
bly employing  the  social  heritage. "  ("Applied 
Sociology,"  page  no.) 

That  is  all  that  Socialism  demands  for  the 
negro,  and  the  South  will  never  be  a  desirable 
place  of  residence  till  that  demand  is  granted. 

That  is  my  honest  belief,  and  I  probably  im- 
bibed in  my  youth  as  much  prejudice  on  the  negro 
question  as  you  did,  for  I  passed  three  years  at  a 
Southern  boarding  school  and  at  the  University  of 

In  closing  my  last  letter,  I  promised  in  this  to 
admit  your  charge  that  Socialists  are  prone  to  ac- 
cept evidence  and  theories  that  tend  to  help  their 
side  of  the  argument,  and  to  show  you  that  this 
peculiarity  was  not  confined  to  Socialists,  and  to 
draw  some  deductions  of  importance  from  these 

The  fact  is  that  all  beliefs  that  have  been  held 
by  considerable  bodies  of  people  have  been  be- 
gotten by  desires,  and  that  these  desires  are  the 
emotional  expressions  of  economic  interests.  Al- 
though I  would  not  blame  you  if  you  should  be 
growing  weary  of  my  frequent  quotations  from 
Lester  F.  Ward,  I  cannot  refrain  from  quoting  his 
admirable  exposition  of  this  point. 

Men  vs.  the  Man  133 

"  It  may  be  said,"  he  writes,  "  that  the  uni- 
versal world  ideas  which  are  said  to  lead  or  rule 
the  world  are  simply  beliefs.  This  is  very  nearly 
true,  and  therefore  we  need  to  inquire  specially  into 
the  nature  of  beliefs.  The  difference  between  be- 
lief and  opinion  is  slight,  at  least  in  popular  usage. 
Belief  might  be  defined  as  fixed  or  settled  opinion, 
but  there  is  also  embraced  in  it  a  certain  disre- 
gard of  the  evidence  upon  which  it  rests,  while  in 
opinion  a  certain  amount  of  evidence  is  implied. 
Opinions  admit  of  comparison  as  regards  their 
strength  depending  upon  the  evidence,  and  may  be 
very  feebly  held,  the  '  weight '  of  evidence  in  their 
favor  being  nearly  balanced  by  that  against  them. 
This  cannot  be  said  of  beliefs.  In  these  the  evi- 
dence is  not  thought  of.  They  are  absolute  and 
independent  of  all  proof.  Upon  what,  then,  do 
they  rest?  Here  we  reach  the  kernel  of  our 
problem.  Beliefs  rest  on  interest.  But  what  is 
interest?  It  is  feeling.  World  views  grow  out 
of  feelings.  They  are  the  bulwarks  of  race  safety. 
You  cannot  argue  men  out  of  them.  They  are  the 
conditions  to  group  as  well  as  to  individual  salva- 

"  Now  it  is  just  this  element  of  interest  that 
links  beliefs  to  desires  and  reconciles  the  ideological 
and  economic  interpretations  of  history;  for 
economics,  by  its  very  definition  of  value,  is  based 
on  desires  and  their  satisfaction.  Every  belief 
embodies  a  desire,  or  rather  a  great  mass  of  de- 

134  Men  vs.  the  Man 

sires.  In  this  lies  the  secret  of  its  power  to  pro- 
duce effects.  The  belief  or  idea,  considered  as  a 
purely  intellectual  phenomenon,  is  not  a  force. 
The  force  lies  in  the  desire.  And  here  we  must 
be  careful  not  to  invert  the  terms.  The  belief 
does  not  cause  the  desire.  The  reverse  is  much 
nearer  the  truth.  Desires  are  economic  demands 
arising  out  of  the  nature  of  man  and  the  condi- 
tions of  existence.  They  are  demands  for  satis- 
faction, and  the  sum  total  of  the  influences,  in- 
ternal and  external,  acting  upon  a  group  or  an  in- 
dividual, leads  to  the  conclusion,  belief,  or  idea 
that  a  certain  proposition  is  true.  That  proposi- 
tion, though  always  reducible  to  the  indicative 
form,  is  essentially  an  imperative,  and  prompts 
certain  actions  regarded  as  essential  to  the  preserva- 
tion of  the  individual  or  the  group.  The  fact  that 
the  interests  involved  are  sometimes  transcendental 
interests  and  become  increasingly  so  with  the  in- 
tellectual development  of  the  race,  does  not  affect 
the  truth  of  all  this.  All  interest  is  essentially 
economic,  and  seen  in  their  true  light  religious  in- 
terests are  as  completely  economic  as  the  so-called 
material  interests.  All  conduct  enjoined  by  reli- 
gion— not  only  the  most  primitive  but  also  the 
most  highly  developed  religions — aims  at  the  satis- 
faction of  desire,  of  which  the  avoidance  of  pun- 
ishment is  only  a  form,  for  economic  considera- 
tions are  always  both  positive  and  negative  in  this 
sense.  And  if  in  the  higher  religions  the  positive 

Men  vs.  the  Man  135 

interests  come  to  predominate  over  the  negative 
ones,  this  only  renders  them  more  typically  eco- 
nomic in  their  character."  ("  Applied  Sociology/' 
pages  45;46.) 

This  idea  that  religious  ideals  have  economic 
roots  cannot  be  unfamiliar  to  such  a  student  of 
Friedrich  Nietzsche  as  yourself.  Do  you  not  re- 
call that  wonderful  passage  in  "  A  Genealogy  of 
Morals  "  in  which  he  tells  us  how  "  ideals  are 
manufactured"  on  earth?  He  shows  how  the 
early  converts  to  Christianity,  being  weak  and 
slaves  and  helpless,  falsified  "  weakness  into 
desert"  and  "  impotence  which  requiteth  not  into 
*  goodness  ' ;  timorous  meanness  into  '  humility,' ' 
and  called  "  not-to-be-able-to-take-revenge  "  "  not- 
to-will-revenge,  perhaps  even  forgiveness." 

But  while  the  idea  that  religious  beliefs  have 
been  moulded  by  economic  conditions  is  familiar 
to  you,  you  will  probably  be  startled  when  I  assert 
that  this  is  equally  true  of  scientific  beliefs.  I  de- 
veloped this  thesis  very  inadequately  in  a  paper  on 
"  Science  and  Revolution "  in  the  Social-Demo- 
crat (London)  for  March  15,  1909,  and  after  I 
had  mailed  the  manuscript  I  received  from  Pro- 
fessor Veblen  a  copy  of  his  paper  on  "  The  Evo- 
lution of  the  Scientific  Point  of  View"  (from 
which  I  have  already  quoted  in  this  letter) ,  which 
develops  the  same  thesis  with  far  greater  clearness 
and  ability. 

In  the  former  paper  I  wrote : 

136  Men  vs.  the  Man 

I  have  no  disposition  to  deny  the  essential  truth  of 
Modern  Science  and  the  great  potential  benefits  it  has 
conferred  upon  humanity,  when  I  assert  that  the  form  of 
scientific  theories  has  been  largely  determined  by  the 
economic  conditions  amid  which  they  arose,  and  that — 
this  is  the  important  point — their  acceptance  by  large 
bodies  of  adherents  has  depended  upon  their  fitness  to 
meet  the  desires — desires  produced  by  economic  needs — 
of  those  adherents. 

This  general  position  was  assumed  by  Karl  Kautsky 
in  his  "  Social  Revolution,"  and,  with  more  facts  at 
his  disposal,  Arthur  Morrow  Lewis  has  elaborated  it 
still  further  in  his  lecture  on  De  Vries'  "  Mutation  "  in 
his  excellent  little  handbook  "  Evolution :  Social  and 
Organic"  (Chicago,  1908);  but  even  since  those  books 
were  written  the  development  of  scientific  theory  has 
overwhelmingly  reenforced  the  view  that  science  responds 
to  economic  stimuli. 

Space  will  not  permit  me  to  give  here  any  save  the 
briefest  sketch  of  scientific  theory  during  the  last  century 
and  a  quarter. 

When  the  bourgeoisie  were  fresh  from  their  revolu- 
tionary conflict  with  feudalism — the  great  French  Revo- 
lution— and  were  still  extending  their  dominion,  they 
were  iconoclastic  and  revolutionary  in  spirit.  It  was 
precisely  then  that  the  cataclysmic  theories  of  Cuvier 
in  geology  and  biology  became  the  generally  accepted 
theories  of  science.  Cuvier  accounted  for  the  existence 
of  fossil  remains  of  animals  different  from  any  living 
species  by  assuming  that  from  time  to  time  in  the  past 
great  cataclysms  (earthquakes  and  eruptions)  had  oc- 
curred and  wiped  out  all  living  forms  of  life,  and  that 

Men  vs.  the  Man  137 

fresh  creations  had  filled  the  vacancies.  This  theory 
at  the  same  time  accounted  for  the  conformation  of 
the  earth's  surface.  The  same  cataclysms  had  dug  oceans 
and  lakes  and  piled  up  mountains. 

Contemporary  with  Cuvier  was  Lamarck,  and  Lamarck 
proclaimed  the  true  theory  that  animals  had  descended 
from  ancestors  unlike  themselves,  but  there  was  no  large 
class  of  people  to  whom  this  doctrine  was  acceptable, 
and  Lamarck  died  disgraced,  and  Cuvier  in  the  height 
of  his  glory  was  called  upon  to  pronounce  his  eulogy, 
and  took  advantage  of  the  opportunity  to  malign  him. 

By  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the  bourgeoisie 
were  firmly  seated  in  the  saddle;  the  last  vestige  of 
feudalism  and  the  restrictions  of  the  guild  system  (and 
in  England  of  protective  tariffs)  had  been  wiped  out; 
the  bourgeoisie  had  the  proletariat  just  where  they  wanted 
them.  In  a  word,  they  had  no  more  use  for  revolutionary 
theories  in  their  business;  if  changes  must  come,  let 
them  come  a  step  at  a  time.  Thus  the  conditions  for 
the  wide  acceptance  of  evolutionary  theories  in  biology 
and  geology  were  ripe,  so  that  in  spite  of  the  rage  of  the 
clergy  nothing  could  prevent  the  general  conquest  of 
the  scientific  world  by  the  natural  selection  of  Darwin 
and  Wallace,  and  the  uniformitarian  geology  of  Sir 
Charles  Lyell.  So  true  is  this  that  on  last  Fpriday 
(February  12,  1909),  the  centenary  of  the  births  of 
Abraham  Lincoln  and  Charles  Darwin,  many  of  the 
clergy  who  had  been  called  upon  to  deliver  Lincoln  ora- 
tions were  unable  to  restrain  themselves  from  adding  a 
word  of  tribute  to  Charles  Darwin. 

Darwin,  like  Lamarck,  taught  that  animals  had  de- 
scended from  ancestors  unlike  themselves,  and  that  the 

138  Men  vs.  the  Man 

changes  in  animals  leading  to  new  species  had  been 
very  slow  and  gradual.  It  is  true  that  Darwin  and 
Lamarck  differed  as  to  the  means  by  which  these  changes 
had  been  brought  about,  but  in  the  particulars  I  have 
named  they  were  at  one.  Yet  Lamarck  was  dishonored, 
and  to-day  most  men  look  upon  Darwin  as  the  greatest 
genius  of  the  nineteenth  century.  Why  this  difference? 
Economic  conditions  is  the  only  possible  answer. 

Sir  Charles  Lyell  laid  great  stress  upon  the  minute 
changes  in  the  earth's  surface  that  are  always  in  progress, 
and  reduced  the  role  of  cataclysms  to  an  extremely  in- 
significant one — and  he  became  the  recognized  father 
of  modern  geology.  Sir  Charles  Lyell  taught  us  much 
and  valuable  truth;  the  small  changes  he  noted  are 
actually  constantly  going  on,  and  their  accumulated 
effects  are  tremendous,  and  before  Lyell's  day  they  had 
been  unnoticed  and  neglected.  But  his  great  reputation 
raised  to  a  sacred  dogma  the  utterly  indefensible  doctrine 
that  (to  translate  the  pedantic  Latin)  "  Nature  makes 
no  leaps." 

Darwin  taught  that  natural  selection  seizes  upon  the 
minutest  variation  that  gives  the  individual  even  the 
slightest  imaginable  advantage  in  the  struggle  for  exist- 
ence, and  that  the  fixing  and  accumulation  of  these  in- 
finitesimal variations  in  time  brings  about  the  introduc- 
tion of  new  species.  At  the  very  time  when  Darwin 
was  pursuing  his  researches,  the  laws  of  heredity  were 
being  experimentally  worked  out  in  a  monastery  garden 
in  Briinn,  Austria,  by  a  monk  who  had  previously  studied 
natural  science  in  Vienna.  This  monk  was  Gregor 
Mendel,  the  discoverer  and  formulator  of  the  laws  of 
heredity.  His  studies  have  enabled  us  to  predict  mathe- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  139 

matically  the  results  of  almost  any  conceivable  experiment 
in  hybridization.  Incidentally,  his  studies  showed  that 
slight  variations  in  height,  etc.,  that  might  be  of  marked 
advantage  to  the  individual  in  whom  they  occurred,  were 
no  more  likely  to  appear  again  in  his  progeny  than  they 
were  in  the  progeny  of  less  favored  individuals.  The 
remarkable  results  of  Mendel's  studies  were  published 
in  the  "  Proceedings  of  the  Natural  History  Society  of 
Briinn  "  in  1865,  just  six  years  after  the  publication 
of  Darwin's  famous  "  Origin  of  Species."  It  is  only  fair 
to  note  that,  so  far  as  we  know,  Darwin  never  knew 
anything  of  the  work  of  Mendel.  But  the  important 
point  for  us  is  that  there  was  at  that  time,  as  it  were, 
no  market  for  the  discovery  that  the  raw  material  for 
natural  selection  to  work  upon  must  consist  of  "  leaps  " 
or,  in  other  words,  of  much  more  marked  and  considerable 
variations  than  Darwin  and  Wallace  had  worked  so  hard 
to  prove  the  adequacy  of.  And  the  fact  is  that  Mendel's 
remarkable  paper  was  forgotten  and  buried,  and  was  not 
exhumed  and  resurrected  until  the  dawn  of  the  twentieth 
century  by  some  earnest  scientific  workers  at  the  Uni- 
versity of  Cambridge. 

What  had  happened  in  the  meantime  to  bring  about 
a  readiness  in  the  minds  of  large  bodies  of  intelligent 
men  and  women  to  accept  cataclysmic  theories  in  the 
natural  sciences?  There  can  be  but  one  answer — the 
appearance  of  the  ever-growing  International  Social  De- 
mocracy. Economic  conditions  had  created  an  army  of 
30,000,000  or  40,000,000  earnest  men  and  women  stead- 
fastly striving  for  revolution,  and  among  them  were 
to  be  numbered  the  cream  of  the  intellectuals  of  both 
hemispheres.  Here  was  the  "  demand  "  for  cataclysmic 

140  Men  vs.  the  Man 

theories,  and  with  the  closing  decade  of  the  nineteenth 
century  science  began  to  furnish  the  "  supply."  This 
supply  is  now  increasing  so  rapidly  that  the  task  of 
keeping  abreast  of  the  new  theories  is  bewildering,  and 
the  danger  appears  to  be  that  by  the  close  of  this,  the 
first  decade  of  the  twentieth  century,  our  most  advanced 
scientists  will  be  teaching  that  nature  makes  nothing 
but  leaps,  that  all  development  is  by  cataclysms  or  revo- 
lutions. At  all  events,  we  are  reasonably  sure  that  the 
charge  of  being  unscientific  will  not  much  longer  be 
hurled  at  the  revolutionists  in  the  Socialist  ranks.  In  the 
second  decade  of  the  twentieth  century  we  may  expect 
to  see  the  opportunists  and  reformers  using  their  utmost 
ingenuity  to  answer  the  very  charge  they  have  so  often 
hurled  at  our  heads. 

Toward  the  close  of  the  nineteenth  century  a  Dutch 
botanist,  Hugo  De  Vries,  noticed  some  new  varieties  of 
evening  primroses  in  his  garden  near  Amsterdam.  They 
came  from  some  self-sown  plants  of  the  common  American 
Lamarckiana.  "  In  the  test  condition  of  De  Vries'  own 
garden,"  Mr.  Lewis  tells  us,  "  in  an  experiment  covering 
thirteen  years,  he  observed  over  fifty  thousand  of  the 
Lamarckiana  spread  over  eight  generations,  and  of  these 
eight  hundred  were  mutations  divided  among  seven  new 
elementary  species.  These  mutations  when  self-fertilized, 
or  fertilized  from  plants  like  themselves,  bred  true  to 
themselves,  thus  answering  the  test  of  a  real  species. 
De  Vries  also  watched  the  field  from  which  his  original 
forms  were  taken,  and  saw  that  similar  mutations  occurred 
there,  so  that  they  were  not  in  any  way  due  to  cultivation." 

That  was  the  main  contribution  of  the  nineteenth 
century  to  cataclysmic  biology.  De  Vries  held  that 

Men  vs.  the  Man  141 

Darwin  admitted  the  possibility  of  such  mutations  in  addi- 
tion to  the  ordinary  lesser  variations  or  "  fluctuations  " 
which  Wallace  and  most  Darwinians  have  held  to  be 
the  only  raw  material  that  Nature  provides  for  natural 
selection  to  work  upon,  and  in  this  he  is  probably  correct, 
though  it  is  beyond  question  that  Darwin  devoted  most 
of  his  life  to  proving  the  adequacy  of  "  fluctuations." 

Mr.  Punnett,  of  Cambridge,  who  is  the  leading  ex- 
ponent of  Mendelism,  in  his  book  on  that  subject,  "  Men- 
delism  "  (Cambridge,  1907),  says  that  where  fluctuations 
appear  to  be  inherited  they  are  probably  "  in  reality  small 
mutations."  He  summarizes  the  case  in  this  way:  "Of 
the  inheritance  of  mutations  there  is  no  doubt.  Of  the 
transmission  of  fluctuations  there  is  no  very  strong  evi- 
dence. It  is  therefore  reasonable  to  regard  the  mutation 
as  the  main,  if  not  the  only,  basis  of  evolution." 

Remember,  this  is  the  extreme  swing  of  the  pendulum. 
He  really  admits  that  natural  selection  preserves  some 
small  changes,  too,  but  he  re-christens  such  changes  "  small 
mutations."  But  it  would  be  just  as  fair  for  a  revolu- 
tionist to  infer  from  this  that  Nature  works  only  by 
revolutions,  as  it  ever  was  for  an  opportunist  reformer 
to  infer  from  Darwin's  teaching  that  Nature  works  only 
by  evolution.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  in  neither  case  is 
there  any  justification  for  transferring  a  law  of  biology 
to  a  totally  different  science,  sociology. 

Space  will  not  permit  me  to  give  more  than  a  glimpse 
at  similar  changes  in  other  sciences.  Professor  T.  J.  J. 
See,  who  has  been  in  charge  of  the  United  States  Astro- 
nomical Observatory  at  Mare  Island,  near  San  Francisco, 
has  made  a  profound  study  of  earthquakes,  and  published 
his  results  in  the  "  Proceedings  of  the  American  Philosoph- 

142  Men  vs.  the  Man 

ical  Society"  at  Philadelphia.  He  has  also  summarized 
them  in  more  popular  form  in  the  September  (1908) 
number  of  the  Pacific  Monthly.  His  conclusion  is  that  all 
mountains  have  been  formed  by  earthquakes  caused  by 
the  secular  leakage  of  the  ocean  bottom.  Is  not  that 
cataclysmic  enough  for  you?  Is  it  true?  I  do  not 
know,  but  it  appears  to  have  the  indorsement  of  such 
scientists  as  the  Swedish  physicist,  Arrhenius,  and  the 
French  astronomer,  Camille  Flammarion.  At  least,  it 
seems  beyond  question  that  s^me  mountains  are  formed 
in  that  way,  so  we  must  bid  a  long  farewell  to  the  old 
uniformitarian  geology. 

Astronomy  has  shown  itself  equally  unable  to  resist 
the  cataclysmic  tendency  of  the  day.  In  Harper's  Mag- 
azine for  January,  1909,  Professor  Robert  Kennedy 
Duncan,  of  the  University  of  Kansas,  tells  us  that  "  the 
nebular  hypothesis  of  Laplace  is  no  longer  tenable," 
that  its  place  has  been  taken  by  the  "  planetesimal  hy- 
pothesis "  of  Professor  T.  C.  Chamberlain,  of  the  Univer- 
sity of  Chicago.  This  means  that  astronomers  now  be- 
lieve that  our  solar  system  has  been  formed,  not  by  the 
infinitely  slow  cooling  down  of  a  vast  sphere  of  fiery 
vapor,  forming  one  ring  and  then  one  planet  after  another 
during  almost  an  infinity  of  time,  but  by  a  sudden  ex- 
plosion in  our  ancestral  sun  which  formed  all  our  planets 
at  once  by  a  single  cataclysmic  stroke!  To  describe  the 
character  of  their  production  Professor  Duncan  uses  the 
word  "  catastrophic." 

.  .  .  It  is  difficult  to  name  a  branch  of  science  in 
which  the  cataclysmic  theory  is  not  triumphant  to-day. 

Hegel's  maxim  that  "Nothing  is;  everything  is  be- 
coming "  has  become  the  fundamental  assumption  of  all 

Men  vs.  the  Man  143 

science.  The  chemists  who  have  investigated  the  radio- 
active bodies  have  shown  us  one  chemical  element  turning 
into  another  in  a  fashion  to  make  rejoice  the  heart  of  an 
old-time  alchemist.  Discussing  this  point,  M.  Lucien 
Poincare  says:  "We  shall  have  to  abandon  the  idea 
so  instinctively  dear  to  us  that  matter  is  the  most  stable 
thing  in  the  universe,  and  to  admit,  on  the  contrary, 
that  all  bodies  whatever  are  a  kind  of  explosive  decom- 
posing with  extreme  slowness."  ("The  New  Physics," 
Appleton,  1908.) 

Let  us  be  careful  not  to  go  to  extremes  and  deny  the 
fact  and  the  fruitfulness  of  slow  evolution,  but  let  us 
with  equal  determination  assert  the  necessity  and  efficacy 
of  cataclysmic  revolution! 

You  see,  my  dear  Mencken,  I  freely  admit  that 
we  Socialists  believe  in  the  theories  and  arguments 
making  for  Socialism  because  we  want  to  believe 
in  them,  because  we  believe  it  is  to  our  interest  or  to 
the  interest  of  humanity  for  us  to  believe  in  them. 
But  those  who  oppose  Socialism  do  so  because  they 
believe  it  to  their  interest  to  do  so. 

I  believe  I  have  demonstrated  the  economic 
foundation  of  beliefs  in  the  field  in  which  such  a 
foundation  would  have  been  least  suspected — that 
of  the  natural  sciences — so  that  I  think  we  may 
regard  Lester  Ward's  view  of  beliefs  as  holding 
good  universally. 

But  while  the  beliefs  of  both  the  friends  and 
foes  of  Socialism  rest  on  economic  foundations, 
there  is  this  prime  difference  between  them: — the 

144  Men  vs.  the  Man 

Socialist  foundation  is  steadily  spreading  in  area 
and  growing  in  strength  and  solidity,  while  the 
anti-Socialist  foundation  is  disintegrating  and 
crumbling  away.  The  pervasive  influence  of  the 
Machine  Process  is  extending  ever  farther  and 
deeper  and  making  more  thoroughgoing  the 
standardization  of  life,  and  is  thus  ever  multiplying 
and  invigorating  the  desires  that  make  for  So- 
cialism at  the  same  time  that  it  is  sapping  the 
strength  of  the  desires  that  stand  in  the  way  of 
Socialism.  Unless  you  can  point  to  some  new 
force  that  will  intervene  and  retard  the  spread  of 
the  influence  of  the  Machine  Process,  you  are 
compelled  to  admit  that  the  time  when  the  vast 
majority  of  mankind  will  be  Socialists  is  not  far 
distant.  This  is  the  sort  of  an  "  evolutionary 
process  "  that  I  and  my  comrades  (whether  you 
regard  them  as  "high-caste"  or  "low-caste") 
have  "  a  sort  of  insatiable  desire  to  help  along." 

But  though  I  saw  plainly  enough  the  effect  of 
economic  conditions  upon  scientific  theory  when  I 
wrote  the  paper  from  which  I  have  quoted  so  lib- 
erally, it  was  not  until  I  read  the  illumining  paper 
by  Thorstein  Veblen  on  "  The  Evolution  of  the 
Scientific  Point  of  View  "  that  I  saw  that  so  long 
as  science  was  a  mere  shuttlecock  tossed  hither  and 
thither  by  varying  class  interests  nothing  worthy 
of  the  name  of  science  was  so  much  as  possible. 
Not  until  the  Social  Revolution  shall  have  wiped 
out  class  lines  forever,  will  a  true  science,  that 

Men  vs.  the  Man  145 

is  a  broadly  human,  instead  of  a  class,  science, 

Literature  too  awaits  the  vivifying  breath  of 
the  Social  Revolution.  "  Under  class  civiliza- 
tion," says  Marcus  Hitch,  "  all  literature  as  well 
as  all  science  may  be  called  toy  work;  it  does  not 
make  for  human  progress  directly  but  only  inci- 
dentally. The  sciences  and  inventions  are  ex- 
ploited by  corporations  primarily  for  profit,  and 
all  new  discoveries  merely  broaden  the  field  of  ex- 
ploitation and  give  rise  to  larger  corporations. 
The  toy  literature  and  arts  merely  serve  for  the 
diversion  of  the  same  class;  they  affect  the  upper 
surface  of  society  only  and  do  not  rise  to  the  dig- 
nity of  really  human  productions,  because  they  are 
not  participated  in  by  humanity,  nor  is  it  intended 
that  they  should  be."  (Goethe's  "  Faust."  Chi- 
cago, 1908,  pages  38-39.) 

The  same  point  is  possibly  more  clearly  brought 
out  by  M.  Alfred  Odin,  Professor  in  the  University 
of  Sofia,  in  his  great  work,  Genese  des  grand 
hommes,gens  de  lettres  frangais  moderns.  (Paris, 

"  Literature  then  is  not,"  he  writes,  "  in  its 
origin,  and  hence  in  its  essence,  that  vague,  ethereal, 
spontaneous  thing  whose  phantom  so  many  his- 
torians and  literary  critics  have  been  pleased  to 
evoke.  It  is  in  the  full  force  of  the  term  an  arti- 
ficial creation,  since  it  is  derived  essentially  from 
causes  due  to  the  intentional  intervention  of  man, 

146  Men  vs.  the  Man 

and  has  not  resulted  from  the  simple  natural  evo- 
lution of  mankind.  It  is  a  natural  phenomenon 
only  as  it  faithfully  reflects  the  inner  mental  work- 
ings of  certain  social  strata.  It  possesses  nothing 
national  or  popular.  Literature  can  only  be  na- 
tional when  it  springs  from  the  very  bosom  of  the 
people,  when  it  serves  to  express  with  equal  ardor 
the  interests  and  the  passions  of  the  whole  world. 
French  literature  does  not  do  this.  With  rare 
exceptions  it  is  only  the  mouthpiece  of  a  few  priv- 
ileged circles.  And  this  explains  why,  in  spite  of 
so  many  efforts  of  every  kind  to  spread  it  among 
the  people,  it  has  remained  upon  the  whole  so  un- 
attractive and  so  foreign  to  the  masses.  Born  in 
the  atmosphere  of  the  hotbed  it  cannot  bear  the 
open  air.  Not  until,  from  some  cause  or  other, 
the  whole  population  shall  be  brought  to  interest 
itself  actively  in  intellectual  affairs  will  it  be  pos- 
sible for  a  truly  national  literature  to  come  forth 
which  shall  become  the  common  property  of  all 
classes  of  society."  (Page  564.) 

The  same  story  is  to  be  told  of  art  as  of  litera- 
ture and  science.  But  this  letter  is  already  over- 
long,  so  I  shall  content  myself  by  giving  William 
Morris's  reason  why  to-day  we  can  have  no  true 
art.  "  In  one  word,"  he  says,  "  slavery  lies  be- 
tween us  and  art." 

Do  you  wish  to  live  to  see  a  true  science  flour- 
ish? Then,  become  a  soldier  of  the  Social  Revolu- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  147 

Do  you  wish  to  see  a  great  human  literature 
blossom?  Then,  become  a  soldier  of  the  Social 
Revolution ! 

Do  you  wish  to  see  all  life  made  beautiful  by 
noble  art?  Then,  become  a  soldier  of  the  So- 
cial Revolution! 

The  recruiting  office  is  always  open. 
Yours,  &c., 

R.  R.  LA  M. 



You  begin  your  letter  by  discoursing  of 
scavengers,  and  I  shall  imitate  your  example. 
The  scavenger,  you  point  out  quite  accurately,  is 
the  favorite  bugaboo  and  Exhibit  A  of  many  of 
the  principal  opponents  of  Socialism.  They  won- 
der who  will  volunteer  to  do  the  scavenging  in  the 
Socialist  state,  and  their  wonderment  is  soon 
transformed  into  a  denial  that  any  scavenging  will 
be  done  at  all.  So  pictured,  the  socialistic  land- 
scape takes  on  a  disagreeable  aspect.  Heaps  of 
garbage  disfigure  the  highroads;  there  are  dead 
cats  in  the  reservoirs,  and  the  Louvre  is  full  of 
tomato  cans.  The  nose  cries  out  aloud  for  mercy 
and  the  human  race  falls  prey  to  zymotic  disease. 

This  seems  to  be  the  idea  at  the  bottom  of  the 
Rev.  Thomas  Dixon's  anti-socialist  novel,  "  Com- 
rades." The  comrades  of  his  socialistic  island, 
when  the  time  comes  to  choose  avocations,  forget 
entirely  the  daily  drudgery  of  the  world.  More 
than  half  of  the  women  want  to  be  chorus  girls, 
college  professors,  and  wealthy  widows,  and  ten 
per  cent,  of  the  men  immolate  themselves  upon  the 


Men  vs.  the  Man  149 

altar  of  national  banking.  Not  a  hero  asks  an 
option  on  the  ash-cart.  Not  a  soul  offers  to  look 
after  the  plumbing. 

There  is  humor  in  the  scene,  but  not  a  great 
deal  of  truth.  As  a  matter  of  fact  the  scavenger 
is  by  no  means  the  most  ignoble  of  men,  and  his 
profession  never  lacks  willing  recruits.  His  so- 
cial position,  indeed,  is  palpably  higher  than  that 
of  the  prostitute,  male  or  female,  the  pickpocket 
or  the  mendicant.  The  undertaker,  a  scavenger 
with  a  touch  of  poetry,  is  a  respected  citizen  in 
every  American  village,  and  even  in  so  large  a 
town  as  Philadelphia  the  freemen  once  chose  an 
undertaker  for  mayor.  The  scavengers  who  have 
rid  the  Canal  Zone  of  mosquitoes  will  live  in  his- 
tory, and  not  many  years  hence  their  effigies  will 
grace  the  public  places  of  Colon.  The  trained 
nurse  spends  half  of  her  waking  hours  in  scaveng- 
ing, and  so  do  the  doctor,  the  sailor,  the  dairyman 
— all  honorable  men.  The  housewife's  eternal 
foe,  so  the  soap  advertisements  tell  us,  is  dirt. 
You  and  I  are  scavengers,  too — you,  when  you  ap- 
ply the  whisk-broom  to  your  raiment,  and  I  when 
I  flick  my  cigar  ashes  out  of  the  window,  instead 
of  behind  the  piano. 

No,  there  is  no  prejudice  against  scavenging, 
but  rather,  among  the  fastidious,  a  passion  for  it; 
and  so  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  observe,  no  very 
active  ostracism  of  scavengers.  The  man  who 
calls  each  morning  to  empty  my  garbage  can  is  a 

150  Men  vs.  the  Man 

high  dignitary  in  the  Patriotic  Order  Sons  of 
America,  and  has  ten  times  as  much  political  in- 
fluence as  I  have.  On  election  day  he  ceases  from 
his  labors  and  devotes  himself  to  inoculating  the 
great  masses  of  the  plain  people — of  whom  I  have 
the  honor  to  be  one — with  enthusiasm.  At  public 
gatherings  of  the  electorate  he  bears  a  torch  and 
howls  like  a  wolf.  On  election  day  I  find  that  he 
has  already  voted  when  I  reach  the  polling-place, 
and  I  enjoy  the  soothing  consciousness  that  his  bal- 
lot has  nullified  mine.  Later  on,  perhaps,  he  will 
vote  again,  for  he  has  nothing  else  to  do  all  day. 
As  for  me,  I  must  get  back  to  my  desk  and  finish 
my  article  on  "  The  Republic  versus  Despotism." 

Considering  all  this,  I  agree  with  you  that  the 
reverend,  but  fanciful  Dixon,  and  all  those  other 
critics  of  Socialism  who  hail  the  scavenger  as  their 
deliverer,  are  trusting  themselves  to  a  far  from 
triumphant  hero. 

But  all  the  same,  I  am  forced  to  appear,  if  un- 
willingly and  as  a  traitor,  in  the  camp  of  these 
critics,  for  I,  too,  fasten  an  argument  against  So- 
cialism upon  the  scavenging  gentleman.  My  argu- 
ment, however,  differs  materially  from  theirs,  for 
while  they  see  in  Socialism  a  scheme  of  things  that 
would  annihilate  him,  I  see  in  it  a  scheme  that 
would  elevate  him  to  the  high  estate  and  dignity 
of  the  gods.  Under  our  present  democracy  the 
scavenger,  if  he  have  ambition  in  him,  may  become 
the  equal  of  an  Edison  or  a  Cyrus  Field — on  cer- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  151 

tain  limited  occasions  and  in  certain  limited  re- 
spects. Under  Socialism  he  would  be  the  peer  of 
these  infinitely  superior  men  at  all  times  and  in  all 
respects ! 

In  other  words,  Socialism  is  indissolubly  linked 
with  the  doctrine  that  a  man,  merely  by  virtue  of 
being  a  man,  is  fitted  to  take  a  hand  in  the  ad- 
judication of  all  the  world's  most  solemn  and  dif- 
ficult causes.  It  insists  that  the  voice  of  the  ig- 
norant shall  be  heard  as  respectfully  as  the  voice 
of  the  learned.  It  contends  that  the  yearning  of 
the  hod-carrier  for  a  high  hat  and  a  keg  of  beer 
shall  receive  as  much  consideration  as  the  yearning 
of  an  Ehrlich  for  the  secret  of  cancer.  It  main- 
tains that  the  Russian-born  tailor,  filthy  to  his  finger 
tips  and  the  devotee  of  an  outlandish,  incompre- 
hensible creed  of  nonsensical  text-searching,  shall 
be  the  equal  of  the  men  who  conquer  the  wilder- 
ness and  harness  the  lightning.  It  sees  some- 
thing portentous  and  holy  in  the  trivial  accident 
that  the  negro  loafer,  drowsing  in  his  wallow,  was 
born  without  a  tail.  It  fastens  a  transcendental 
importance  upon  the  word  "  human "  and  con- 
verts it  into  a  synonym  for  "  intelligent,"  "  honest," 
"  wise "  —for  every  adjective  that  distinguishes 
one  caste  of  men  from  the  caste  below  it.  You 
may  protest  all  you  please,  and  qualify  your  mean- 
ing of  "  equality  "  however  you  please,  but  the 
fact  remains  that  if  this  notion  that  one  man  is  as 
good  as  another — "  before  God,"  or  "  as  a  citi- 

Men  vs.  the  Man 

zen  " — be  taken  away,  Socialism  ceases  to  be  in- 
telligible to  rational  creatures. 

But  am  I  arguing,  I  hear  you  ask,  against  gov- 
ernment by  the  consent  of  the  governed?  Do  I 
propose  the  overthrow  of  our  democracy  and  the 
erection  in  its  place  of  some  form  of  absolute 
monarchy  or  oligarchy?  Not  at  all.  All  things 
considered,  I  am  convinced,  as  you  are,  that  the 
republican  form  of  government  in  vogue  in  the 
United  States  and  England  to-day  is  the  best, 
safest,  and  most  efficient  government  ever  set  up 
in  the  world.  But  its  comparative  safety  and  ef- 
ficiency lie,  not  in  the  eternal  truth  of  the  some- 
what florid  strophes  of  the  Declaration  of  Inde- 
pendence, but  in  the  fact  that  those  strophes  must 
ever  remain  mere  poetry.  That  is  to  say,  its  prac- 
tice is  beneficent  because  its  theory  is  happily  im- 
possible. Once  a  year  we  reaffirm  the  doctrine 
that  all  men  are  free  and  equal.  All  the  rest  of 
the  twelvemonth  we  devote  our  energies  to  prov- 
ing that  they  are  not. 

It  is  lucky  for  civilization  that  democracy  must 
ever  remain  a  phantasm,  to  entertain  and  hearten 
the  lowly  like  the  hope  of  heaven,  but  to  fall  short 
eternally  of  realization.  If  it  were  actually  pos- 
sible to  give  every  citizen  an  equal  voice  in  the 
management  of  the  world — if  it  were  practicable  to 
provide  machinery  whereby  the  collective  will  of 
the  majority  could  be  registered  accurately,  and 
made  effective  automatically  and  immediately — 

Men  vs.  the  Man  153 

the  democratic  ideal  would  reduce  itself  to  an  ab- 
surdity in  six  months.  There  would  be  an  end 
to  all  progress.  Emotion  would  take  the  place 
of  reason.  It  would  be  impossible  to  achieve 
coherent  governmental  policies.  The  mind  of  the 
government,  as  a  government,  would  be  the  mind 
of  the  average  citizen  of  the  nether  majority — a 
mind  necessarily  incapable  of  grasping  the  com- 
plex concepts  formulated  by  the  progressive 
minority.  The  more  childish  the  idea  the  more 
eagerly  it  would  be  adopted  and  put  into  execu- 
tion. The  more  unreasoning  the  prejudice,  the 
more  desperately  it  would  be  cherished  and  the 
longer  it  would  survive. 

An  example  may  make  this  somewhat  more  clear. 
You  are  familiar,  I  suppose,  with  the  enormous 
value  of  the  work  done  by  the  national  Depart- 
ment of  Agriculture.  It  has  multiplied  our  na- 
tional wealth,  it  has  reduced  the  labor  of  our 
farmers  and  increased  their  leisure,  and  it  has 
greatly  elevated  our  standards  of  living.  And  yet, 
as  you  know,  its  efforts  were  ridiculed  and  opposed 
by  nine-tenths  of  the  farmers  in  the  United  States 
when  it  began,  and  even  to-day  the  majority  of 
them  look  upon  it  as  their  officious  enemy.  But 
a  few  months  ago,  when  experts  went  through 
Maryland  showing  the  peasants  how  to  increase 
the  yield  of  their  cornfields,  a  howl  of  objurga- 
tion went  up. 

Let  us  suppose  that  the  project  of  establishing  a 

154  Men  vs.  the  Man 

Department  of  Agriculture  had  been  referred  to  a 
universal  manhood  plebiscite,  and  that  all  the  votes 
had  been  counted  fairly.  Do  you  believe  that  the 
farmers  of  the  country,  with  their  seven-tenths 
majority,  would  have  said  aye?  I  think  not.  And 
supposing  the  Department  established,  do  you  be- 
lieve that  a  referendum  would  have  supported  it 
in  its  infinitely  useful,  but  iconoclastic,  and  hence 
obnoxious,  work?  Again,  I  think  not. 

Fortunately,  it  is  impossible,  under  our  exist- 
ing system  of  denaturized  democracy,  for  the 
freemen  of  the  land  to  record  their  judgment  upon 
all  the  countless  administrative  issues  that  arise — 
or  even  upon  the  major  issues  of  general  policy. 
Theoretically,  true  enough,  they  determine  the  lat- 
ter by  their  votes,  but  actually,  it  is  always  possi- 
ble for  the  intelligent  minority  to  drive  them,  buy 
them,  or  lead  them  by  the  nose.  The  use  of  brute 
force  against  the  mob  is  a  constant,  but  seldom 
recognized  expedient  of  civilized  government.  A 
President  of  honesty  and  intelligence  sacrifices  his 
chance  of  re-election  in  order  to  execute  some  plan 
for  the  national  benefit.  The  electors  will  cast 
him  out  on  that  impending  November  day,  but 
meanwhile  he  has  the  power  of  the  State  behind 
him,  and  so  his  plan  is  put  through.  Again,  there 
comes  a  crisis,  in  some  division  of  the  State,  in  the 
conflict  between  the  intelligent  minority  and  the 
lowest  caste  of  the  majority.  The  latter  attempts 
to  assert  its  god-given  "  rights  " — to  substitute 

Men  vs.  the  Man  155 

barbarism  for  civilization.  Well,  the  shot-gun 
does  a  solemn  work — and  disfranchisement  appears 
as  a  foot-note  to  the  Declaration  of  Independence. 
Marcus  Brutus  and  the  Ku  Klux  Klan  were  of  a 
piece.  In  despotism  it  is  assassination  that  stands 
between  the  slave  and  his  ultimate,  unbearable 
wrong,  and  in  republics  it  is  despotism  that  saves 
civilization  from  the  slave. 

The  lesser  weapons  that  I  have  mentioned  are 
bribery  and  sophistry.  You  know,  as  well  as  I, 
how  each  is  wielded,  and  you  know,  too,  that  each, 
in  the  long  run,  works  as  much  good  as  harm. 
If  it  were  not  possible  for  politicians  to  hoodwink 
and  bamboozle  the  electorate,  the  Secretary  of 
State  at  Washington  would  practise  the  statecraft 
of  the  village  grocery  store.  Luckily  for  all  of 
us,  the  truly  vital  problems  of  government  are  sel- 
dom left  to  the  decision  of  the  majority.  If,  by 
chance,  they  enter  into  a  campaign,  it  is  always 
possible  to  drag  a  herring  across  the  trail,  and  so 
send  the  plain  people  galloping  after  it.  Their 
actual  choosing,  when  it  is  done,  narrows  down  to 
a  choice  between  a  fat  man  and  a  lean  man,  a 
platitude  and  a  fallacy,  tweedledum  and  tweedle- 
dee.  One  candidate  proposes  to  curb  the  trusts, 
and  his  opponent  proposes  to  curb  the  trusts. 
There  is  a  noisy  wrangle  over  identities — and  the 
luckier  of  the  two  aspirants  gets  his  chance.  Once 
he  is  in  office,  the  actual  issues  of  the  campaign  en- 
gage him  no  more.  Instead,  he  devotes  his  time 

156  Men  vs.  the  Man 

to  the  execution  of  ideas  which  he  has  scarcely 
mentioned,  perhaps,  in  his  canvass,  but  which  he 
knows  to  be  of  importance  and  value.  The  plati- 
tudes of  the  platforms  have  served  their  purpose, 
and  no  one  will  hear  of  them  again  until  the  next 

Bribery,  I  believe,  is  often  more  efficient,  in  com- 
bating the  eternal  running  amuck  of  the  Chan- 
dala  caste,  than  either  brute  force  or  sophistry. 
Certainly,  it  is  more  subtile  than  the  former  and 
more  honorable  than  the  latter.  The  minority  de- 
cides what  it  wants  and  what  it  can  afford  to  pay 
— and  the  majority  gratefully  accepts  its  money. 
In  my  own  glorious  State  of  Maryland  fifty  per 
cent,  of  the  voters  expect — nay,  demand — to  be 
paid  for  their  votes.  If,  by  any  accident,  there 
were  no  competitive  bids  on  election  day,  it  would 
puzzle  them  sorely  to  decide  how  to  vote.  In 
some  of  the  counties,  I  am  told,  fully  ninety  per 
cent,  accept  honorariums  from  the  party  disburs- 
ing officers.  Horrible?  Not  at  all.  Just  sup- 
pose that  these  swine  actually  recorded  their  own 
thoughts  in  the  ballot-box!  Just  suppose  that  the 
honest  opinions  of  the  Eastern  Shore  of  Maryland, 
white  and  black,  were  transformed  into  laws  upon 
the  statute-books  of  the  State  1  If  they  were,  it 
would  be  a  misdemeanor  to  call  a  Baptist  clergy- 
man an  ass,  and  a  felony  to  put  a  lock  on  a  hen- 
house door. 

And  yet  you  Socialists,  whether  you  are  disposed 

Men  vs.  the  Man  157 

to  admit  it  or  not,  propose  to  wipe  out  the  just 
and  providential  disabilities  which  now  differ- 
entiate all  such  vermin  from  their  betters.  You 
tell  the  whining,  inefficient  man,  with  his  constant 
cry  of  injustice  and  oppression,  that  he  must  get 
the  things  he  wants  through  the  ballot-box.  "  Vote 
for  Debs,"  you  say  to  him,  "  and  you  will  be  paid, 
not  only  your  fair  wage,  but  your  employer's  profit 
also.  Vote  for  Debs,  and  you  will  be  able  to  live 
at  the  rate  of  $5,000  a  year.  Vote  for  Debs,  and 
your  hours  of  labor  will  be  cut  to  two  a  day.  Vote 
for  Debs,  and  the  by-laws  of  your  trades-union 
will  become  the  constitution  of  the  Republic." 

Well,  suppose  he  does  it,  and  gets  all  that  he 
now  seeks.  Will  he  be  content,  then,  to  loll  con- 
tentedly in  his  new  luxury,  with  his  $5,000  a  year, 
his  twenty-two  hours  of  idleness,  his  crayon  por- 
trait of  his  grandmother,  his  automatic  piano,  his 
diamond  shirt  studs,  his  automobile,  and  his  half- 
hourly  can  of  beer?  I  think  not.  Once  he  be- 
comes the  economic  and  political  equal  of  his 
former  employer  he  will  proceed  to  enforce  his 
equality,  politically  as  well  as  economically.  He 
will  become,  in  brief,  a  statesman,  a  disputant,  a 
philosopher — and  after  that,  God  help  us!  His 
heroes  will  be  the  men  who  think  as  he  thinks. 
He  will  send  the  intellectual  giant  in  the  next  ditch 
to  Congress.  The  boss  of  his  union  will  aspire 
to  the  Presidency.  The  secretary  of  the  scene- 
shifters  will  go  to  the  Court  of  St.  James. 

158  Men  vs.  the  Man 

This  picture,  my  dear  La  Monte,  is  not  fan- 
tastic. The  clod-hopper's  distrust  of  his  betters 
will  be  accentuated,  rather  than  ameliorated  by  So- 
cialism. Our  scavenger,  even  after  he  is  the 
political  and  economic  equal  of  Dr.  Eliot  and  Mr. 
Rockefeller,  will  still  view  such  men  with  suspicion 
— if  there  be,  indeed,  any  men  of  their  sort  in  the 
socialistic  state — because  it  is  an  inherent  and  in- 
eradicable characteristic  of  all  low-caste  men  to 
look  with  suspicion  upon  those  whose  ambitions, 
ethics,  and  ideals  are  more  complex  than  theirs. 
The  old  hatred  of  the  man  who  would  rather  read 
a  book  than  bask  in  the  sun  has  not  died  out  in 
the  world.  The  old  cry  of  sorcery  is  still  raised. 
And  the  low-caste  man,  whenever  he  has  the  chance, 
still  prefers  to  trust  himself  to  a  delegate  from  his 
own  caste,  whose  yearnings  are  his,  and  whose 
mental  processes  he  can  follow.  Socialism  can 
never  change  this.  It  is  a  matter  of  anatomy 
more  than  of  economics. 

At  the  present  time,  when  an  election  district 
peopled  in  overwhelming  majority  by  low-caste 
men,  sends  one  of  them  to  a  state  legislature,  his 
power  for  evil  is  obscured  and  neutralized  by  two 
things.  In  the  first  place,  he  meets  few  of  his  fel- 
lows there,  for  the  average  low-caste  electoral  body 
is  so  corrupt  that  its  class-feeling  is  easily  overcome 
by  money,  and  in  consequence  he  cannot  make  him- 
self felt.  In  the  second  place,  he  is  commonly 
corrupt  himself.  If  you  have  any  practical  ac- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  159 

quaintance  with  politics  in  any  American  state,  you 
must  be  well  aware  that  the  legislators  who  are 
most  easily  purchased  are  those  who  come  from 
the  ranks  of  the  workingmen  and  farmers.  The 
bucolic  statesman,  when  he  gets  to  the  state  cap- 
ital, makes  his  fight  for  the  trivial  local  laws  that 
his  own  self-interest  demands,  and  after  that  he 
is  for  sale  to  the  highest  bidder.  The  more  im- 
portant matters  before  the  law-making  body  are 
entirely  beyond  his  comprehension.  He  doesn't 
understand  them,  and  he  doesn't  want  to  under- 
stand them.  I  know,  indeed,  of  a  case  wherein  a 
large  city,  seeking  authority  from  the  state  legis- 
lature to  make  improvements  demanded  urgently 
by  the  public  safety,  was  unable  to  get  that  author- 
ity because  it  was  impossible,  under  its  charter,  for 
it  to  pay  certain  county  members  for  their  votes. 
If  there  had  been  time,  I  have  no  doubt,  these 
county  members  would  have  obligingly  amended 
the  charter  to  make  the  payments  legal. 

Socialism  will  not  convert  such  simple  bar- 
barians into  civilized  men.  Despite  their  $5,000 
a  year  and  their  twenty-two  hours  of  leisure,  they 
will  still  cling  to  their  rag-time,  their  yellow  jour- 
nals, their  medicated  flannels,  and  their  fear  of 
hell,  learning,  and  the  bath-tub.  But  under  So- 
cialism, you  say,  they  will  have  leisure  for  educa- 
tion. Even  supposing  they  still  hold  to  their  pres- 
ent custom  of  devoting  an  hour  a  day  to  pinochle, 
they  will  yet  devote  some  other  hour  to  John  Stuart 

160  Men  vs.  the  Man 

Mill  and  August  Weismann.  It  is  a  beautiful 
theory,  but  the  facts,  I  fear,  do  not  point  to  its 
truth.  Education,  considered  in  its  broad  sense, 
and  not  as  a  mere  piling  up  of  special  knowledge, 
is  not  a  matter  of  leisure  and  money,  but  of  in- 
clination and  capacity.  It  is  perfectly  possible  in 
the  United  States  to-day  for  the  average  boy, 
white  or  black,  to  obtain,  without  cost  to  his  par- 
ents, just  as  much  education  as  Herbert  Spencer 
ever  had  from  others  from  beginning  to  end  of 
his  life.  In  many  states  it  is  compulsory.  But 
for  all  that,  we  produce  very  few  men  comparable 
to  Spencer. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  typical  low-caste  man 
is  entirely  unable  to  acquire  that  power  of  ordered 
and  independent  reasoning  which  distinguishes  the 
man  of  higher  caste.  You  may,  by  dint  of  heroic 
endeavors,  instil  into  him  a  parrotlike  knowledge 
of  certain  elemental  facts,  and  he  may  even  make 
a  shift  to  be  a  schoolmaster  himself,  but  he  will 
remain  a  stupid  and  ignorant  man,  none  the  less. 
More  likely,  you  will  find  that  he  is  utterly  un- 
able to  assimilate  even  the  simplest  concepts.  The 
binomial  theorem  is  as  far  beyond  his  comprehen- 
sion as  an  epigram  in  Persian.  And  this  inability 
to  understand  the  concepts  formulated  by  others  is 
commonly  but  the  symptom  of  a  more  marked  in- 
capacity for  formulating  new  concepts  of  his  own. 
In  the  true  sense,  such  a  being  cannot  think.  With- 
in well-defined  limits,  he  may  be  trained,  just  as 

Men  vs.  the  Man  161 

any  other  sentient  creature  may  be  trained,  but 
beyond  that  he  cannot  go. 

The  public  school  can  never  hope  to  raise  him 
out  of  his  caste.  It  can  fill  him  to  the  brim — but 
then  it  must  stop.  He  is  congenitally  unteachable. 
A  year  after  he  has  left  school,  he  has  forgotten 
nearly  all  that  he  learnt  there.  At  twenty-one, 
when  the  republic  formally  takes  him  into  its  coun- 
cils, he  is  laboring  with  pick  and  shovel  in  his  pre- 
destined ditch,  a  glad  glow  in  his  heart  and  a 
strap  around  his  wrist  to  keep  off  rheumatism. 

The  barriers  of  caste  are  not  artificial,  my  dear 
La  Monte,  but  natural.  Sitting  in  school  beside 
the  Sudra  I  have  been  discussing  is  a  boy  whose 
future  will  rise  above  ditches.  He  is  from  the 
lowest  caste,  too,  but  he  is  a  variation,  a  mutation. 
He  has  a  thirst  for  learning,  and  a  capacity  for  it. 
He  may  be  the  Galileo  of  to-morrow,  and  then 
again  he  may  be  only  a  nascent  Napoleon  of  ditch- 
ing— a  dealer  in  the  toil  of  ditch-diggers.  But 
whether  his  progress  beyond  the  actual  toilers  be 
great  or  small,  he  must  forever  stand  as  a  living 
proof  that  there  is  a  caste  of  men  higher  than 
theirs — a  caste  of  men  more  intelligent  than  they, 
and  more  nearly  approaching  the  maximum  of 
human  efficiency.  His  superiority  owes  nothing  to 
vested  rights,  and  nothing  to  special  privileges. 
It  is  based  entirely  upon  the  eternal  biological 
truth  that,  in  all  the  more  complex  varieties  of  liv- 
ing beings,  there  are  enormous  differences  between 

1 62  Men  vs.  the  Man 

individuals,  and  that  these  differences,  at  their  ex- 
tremities, produce  a  caste  barely  entitled  to  life 
and  a  caste  far  advanced  upon  the  upward  path 
which  the  species  seems  to  follow. 

The  negro  loafer  is  not  a  victim  of  restricted 
opportunity  and  oppression.  There  are  schools 
for  him,  and  there  is  work  for  him,  and  he  dis- 
dains both.  That  his  forty-odd  years  of  freedom 
have  given  him  too  little  opportunity  to  show  his 
mettle  is  a  mere  theory  of  the  chair.  As  a  mat- 
ter of  fact,  the  negro,  in  the  mass,  seems  to  be 
going  backward.  The  most  complimentary  thing 
that  can  be  said  of  an  individual  of  the  race  to- 
day is  that  he  is  as  industrious  and  honest  a  man 
as  his  grandfather,  who  was  a  slave.  There  are 
exceptional  negroes  of  intelligence  and  ability,  I 
am  well  aware,  just  as  there  are  miraculous  Rus- 
sian Jews  who  do  not  live  in  filth;  but  the  great 
bulk  of  the  race  is  made  up  of  inefficients.  In  the 
biological  phrase,  the  negro  runs  true  to  type. 
There  are  few  variations,  except  downward.  I 
have  known,  I  should  say,  at  least  five  hundred 
negroes  in  my  time,  and  of  all  these  not  more  than 
ten  have  displayed  any  inclination  whatever  to 
rise  above  their  racial  level. 

Socialism,  as  I  understand  it,  proposes  to  let 
these  savages  plunder  civilization.  It  holds  that 
they  should  get  more  pay  for  their  loafing;  that 
the  comforts  and  luxuries  which  represent  the  ideals 
and  ingenuity  of  the  highest  caste  of  human  be- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  163 

ings  should  be  handed  over,  gratuitously,  to  these 
parasites.  It  proposes  to  heed  and  satisfy  their 
yearnings,  to  take  account  of  their  opinions,  to 
give  them  a  hand  in  the  government  of  the  state, 
to  dignify  their  laziness  with  sounding  names,  to 
hail  them  as  brothers.  I  am  unable,  my  dear  La 
Monte,  to  subscribe  to  this  scheme.  I  am  far  from 
a  Southerner  in  prejudice  and  sympathies,  though 
born  on  the  borders  of  the  South,  but  it  seems  to 
me  that,  so  long  as  we  refrain,  in  the  case  of  the 
negro  loafer,  from  the  measures  of  extermination 
we  have  adopted  in  the  case  of  parasites  further 
down  the  scale,  we  are  being  amply  and  even 
excessively  faithful  to  an  ethical  ideal  which 
makes  constant  war  upon  expediency  and  common 

And  now  let  me  return  to  your  letter.  In  one 
part  of  it,  I  note,  you  accuse  me  of  harboring  an- 
thropomorphic ideas,  and  proceed  to  elect  me  a 
member  of  some  Methodist  synod.  Herein,  my 
ingenuous  friend,  you  juggle  with  words,  for  you 
are  certainly  well  aware  of  the  meaning  of  an- 
thropomorphism, and  if  you  are,  you  are  certainly 
well  aware  that  my  belief  in  "  the  beneficence  and 
permanence  of  the  evolutionary  process  "  does  not 
make  me  an  anthropomorphist.  But  I  shall  as- 
sume that  you  are  actually  in  error  regarding  the 
meaning  of  the  word,  and  so  expound  it. 

Anthropomorphism,  then,  is  a  name  for  a  the- 
ological theory  which  assumes  that  the  universe  is 

164  Men  vs.  the  Man 

managed  by  a  definite  being  or  beings  whose  men- 
tal processes  and  emotions  are  similar  to  those  of 
human  beings.  That  is  to  say  the  anthropomor- 
phic god  is  merely  an  omnipotent  and  omniscient 
man.  The  Greeks  believed  that  there  was  a  whole 
race  of  such  gods,  and  that  they  spent  their  time 
on  Olympus  much  as  the  Athenians  spent  their  time 
in  Athens — carousing,  drabbing,  playing  politics, 
fighting,  intriguing,  and  indulging  in  all  sorts  of 
outbreaks  of  passion.  The  modern  soldier  of  the 
Salvation  Army  believes  there  is  only  one  god, 
and  this  god  he  pictures  as  an  enlarged  and 
gaseous  simulacrum  of  General  William  Booth — 
as  a  venerable  but  somewhat  dictatorial  and  re- 
vengeful old  man  with  a  white  beard  and  a  large 
corps  of  favorites  and  assistants.  The  Salvation- 
ist believes  that  this  god  manages  the  world  just 
as  General  Booth  manages  the  Army — rewarding 
the  faithful,  denouncing  the  traitor,  and  watching 
eternally  for  fidelity  and  treason. 

The  other  anthropomorphic  sects  draw  pictures, 
more  or  less  fantastic  and  incredible,  of  other  man- 
made  gods,  and  there  are  endless  differences  in  de- 
tail. One  holds  that  its  god  sometime  enters  the 
body  of  an  actual  man — that  he  has  done  so  in  the 
past  or  will  do  so  in  the  future.  Apostolic  Chris- 
tianity and  Mohammedanism  are  examples. 
Others  hold  that  he  elevates  favored  human  be- 
ings to  his  own  rank,  and  places  them  at  his  right 
hand.  Of  such  are  Mormonism  and  Catholicism. 

Men  vs.  the  Man  165 

Yet  another  sect  maintains  that  its  god  is  a  sort 
of  glorified  chief  of  its  own  race,  and  that  all 
other  races  are  inferior  in  consequence.  This 
comforting  doctrine  is  taught  by  Judaism. 

As  you  will  notice,  the  central  fact  in  anthropo- 
morphism is  that  the  god  is  given  essentially  human 
attributes.  He  is  not  only  intelligent,  but  also 
extremely  emotional.  He  has  fits  of  temper,  pas- 
sions, prejudices,  even  superstitions.  He  is  bland 
and  forgiving  to  those  he  holds  in  affection,  and 
furiously  vengeful  upon  those  he  dislikes.  It  is 
necessary,  in  order  to  get  a  favor,  or  even  com- 
mon justice  from  him,  that  he  be  put  in  a  good 
humor — by  abasing  one's  self  before  him,  by  mak- 
ing some  sort  of  sacrifice  to  him,  or  by  actually 
bribing  him.  He  has  hordes  of  spies,  agents,  and 
emissaries,  who  collect  his  fees,  denounce  his  ene- 
mies, and  manage  his  business.  He  is,  in  a  word, 
an  exceedingly  inflammatory  being,  with  the  hot 
passions,  arbitrary  likes  and  dislikes,  and  violent 
rages  of  a  medieval  bishop. 

Now,  it  seems  to  me  that  the  cosmic  process 
shows  no  traces  at  all  of  this  human  emotionalism. 
It  is,  indeed,  utterly  unemotional,  and  its  lack  of 
emotion  is  its  principal  characteristic.  Since  the 
dawn  of  history  men  have  been  trying  to  read  into 
it  some  notion  of  right  and  wrong — some  anthropo- 
morphic ideal — but  they  have  always  failed. 
Judged  by  those  human  standards  which  we  ap- 
ply to  sociological  processes — the  operation  of  the 

1 66  Men  vs.  the  Man 

state  laws,  for  example — it  is  utterly  immoral  and 
meaningless.  Try  as  we  may,  we  can  never  show 
that  our  particular  god  punishes  the  guilty  and 
rewards  the  righteous,  or  even  that  he  compre- 
hends the  concepts  represented  by  these  words. 
We  may  assume  it,  but  all  the  evidence  is  against 
it.  No  Huxley  was  needed  to  point  out  that  the 
weather,  for  one  thing,  is  managed,  humanly  speak- 
ing, in  an  ignorant  and  outrageous  manner.  No 
Johan  Bojer  was  needed  to  prove  that  the  wicked 
often  triumph  in  the  world,  and  the  righteous  often 
perish.  And  no  Joseph  Conrad  was  needed  to 
show  us  that  human  destiny  is  one  with  the  fall 
of  the  die. 

Fortunately,  it  is  not  necessary  for  a  civilized 
human  being  of  the  twentieth  century  to  believe 
in  a  man-like  god.  I  may  observe  and  study  the 
workings  of  the  universe,  and  still  make  no  at- 
tempt to  explain  them  in  terms  of  passion  and 
emotion.  It  would  interest  me  immensely  to  learn 
how  and  why  the  globes  are  kept  spinning,  but  in 
view  of  the  limits  which  hedge  in  my  perceptions,  I 
doubt  that  I  shall  ever  find  out.  Meanwhile,  how- 
ever, I  can  make  note  of  the  fact  that  they  always 
spin  in  a  certain  way,  and  that  they  have  done  so 
ever  since  the  first  human  observers  began  to 
study  them,  and  from  this  I  can  deduce  the  not 
unreasonable  idea  that  they  will  continue  to  spin 
in  that  way  for  a  good  while  to  come.  Thus,  very 
simply,  I  may  arrive  at  my  notion  of  the  perma- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  167 

nence  of  the  cosmic  process.  And,  going  further, 
I  can  note  that  the  spinning  of  these  globes,  how- 
ever much  it  has  inconvenienced  and  tortured  in- 
dividual men,  from  time  to  time,  has  at  least  re- 
sulted in  the  gradual  development  of  a  race  which 
seems  to  me  to  be  measurably  superior,  in  its  higher 
ranks,  to  the  asexual  cell  from  which  it  has  sprung. 
And  so  I  may  come  to  the  notion  that  the  cosmic 
process,  considered  broadly,  is  beneficent.  Yet  I 
have  not  touched  anthropomorphism,  directly  or 
indirectly,  at  any  place. 

You  yourself  are  the  anthropomorphist ;  not  I. 
You  still  hold  to  the  ancient  theological  doctrine 
that  the  human  race  is  a  race  apart — that  because 
it  is  molded  "  in  the  image  of  God  "  it  is  superior 
to  natural  laws  which  govern  other  races.  In  the 
days  when  men  believed  that  Jerusalem  was  the 
capital  of  the  universe  this  was  a  credible 
doctrine;  but  the  history  of  all  exact  knowledge  is 
the  history  of  its  gradual  decay.  When  ad- 
venturers proved,  despite  St.  Augustine's  masterly 
logic,  that  the  earth  was  a  sphere,  it  received  a 
telling  blow.  When  they  proved,  despite  Moses, 
that  the  earth  was  but  one  of  countless  worlds,  it 
received  another.  And  when  Darwin  came,  and 
his  like,  it  ceased  to  be  a  living  doctrine,  and  be- 
came a  mere  empty  shell  upon  the  garbage-pile  of 
dead  ideas.  But  you  Socialists  want  to  resurrect 
it.  You  ask  us  all  to  believe  it,  as  John  the  Baptist 
believed  it — despite  a  mass  of  evidence  so  enormous 

1 68  Men  vs.  the  Man 

that  one  man  can  scarcely  hope  to  master  even  its 
daily  accretions. 

And  so  I  find  myself  at  the  end  of  my  letter 
with  many  of  the  arguments  in  your  last  epistle 
unanswered.  One  or  two  brief  notes  must  suf- 
fice. You  say  in  one  place,  for  example,  that  your 
ideal  man  is  one  "  wholly  devoted  to  promoting 
human  happiness,"  and  then  proceed  to  explain, 
with  somewhat  unparliamentary  innuendo,  that 
you  mean  "  human  happiness,  and  not  a  hog's  hap- 
piness." My  answer  here  must  be  the  "  You're 
another,"  of  the  small  boy,  for  it  is  your  scheme 
of  things,  and  not  mine,  that  considers  the  yearn- 
ings of  the  hog.  My  own  philosophy  disregards 
the  hog  entirely.  Its  concern  is  with  the  aims 
and  aspirations  of  the  higher  man,  and  with  those 
expedients  which  permit  him  to  widen  the  gap 
which  separates  him  from  the  hog.  But  you  are 
for  the  nether  swine.  Their  desire  for  forty  acres 
and  a  mule,  for  ten  hours  of  pinochle  instead  of 
one,  for  leisure  to  be  hoggish,  for  a  chance  to 
plunder  their  betters — this  desire  appears  to  you 
as  a  holy  thing.  You  want  to  strike  an  average 
between  the  topmost  man  and  the  hog,  and  to 
achieve  a  level  of  civilization  in  which  intelligence 
and  hoggishness  shall  be  blended  in  equal  portions. 
Let  us  have  no  more  talk  of  hogs. 

Your  argument  that  the  individualist  must  suffer 
agonizing  loneliness  demands  a  more  extensive  an- 
swer than  I  can  give.  For  the  present,  I  can  only 

Men  vs.  the  Man  169 

point  out  that  you  are  assuming  too  much  when  you 
assume  that  solitude  is  inevitably  painful.  The 
low-caste  man's  insatiable  desire  for  company,  for 
fraternity,  for  brotherhood,  is  a  proof  of  his 
low  caste.  He  has  no  resources  within  himself. 
Save  in  association  with  his  fellows  he  has  no 
means  of  defending  himself,  or  amusing  himself. 
Even  in  his  own  sight,  he  is  inconceivable  save  as 
an  undifferentiated  molecule  in  a  larger  mass.  So 
he  joins  fraternal  orders,  goes  to  church,  and  af- 
filiates with  a  political  party.  A  man  of  greater 
complexity  is  in  better  case.  Human  intercourse 
is  open  to  him  when  he  desires  it,  but  it  is  not  the 
only  thing  that  stands  between  him  and  unbearable 
ennui.  When  he  is  alone,  it  is  because  he  wants 
to  be  alone,  and  he  is  not  lonely. 

The  long  argument  of  Lester  F.  Ward,  that  all 
human  beliefs  are  grounded  upon  the  appetites 
and  emotions,  is  entirely  unconvincing,  and  so  is 
your  dissertation  in  support  of  it.  The  progress 
of  such  exact  sciences  as  astronomy  and  biology  is 
due,  in  the  main,  to  the  fortuitous  collocation 
(humanly  speaking)  of  apparently  disconnected 
observations  and  discoveries,  and  has  nothing 
whatever  to  do  with  the  food  supply  of  the  state  or 
the  political  theories  of  the  people.  The  discovery 
of  the  bacillus  of  tuberculosis  was  made  possible  by 
the  microscope,  and  not  by  the  French  Revolution. 
As  for  your  argument  that  the  present  age  is 
"  catastrophic  "  and  that,  in  consequence,  "  cata- 

1 70  Men  vs.  the  Man 

clysmic  "  theories  are  dominant  in  all  departments 
of  science,  I  am  unable  to  offer  a  serious  answer  to 
it,  because  it  seems  to  me  to  be  utterly  gratuitous 
and  ridiculous.  What  is  the  "  cataclysmic  "  ele- 
ment in  Metchnikoff's  theory  of  phagocytes,  or  in 
Wright's  theory  of  opsonins  ?  What  had  political 
economy  to  do  with  Dr.  Remsen's  discovery  of 
saccharin?  And  what  had  the  war  on  the  bour- 
geoisie to  do  with  the  rise  of  abdominal  surgery? 
I  fear  you  are  joking.  If  you  are  not,  you  have 
been  sadly  led  astray  by  the  sound  of  words. 
As  always, 

H.  L.  M. 



Permit  me  to  grovel  before  you  in  apologizing 
for  my  long  delay  in  replying  to  your  last  very 
interesting  denunciation  of  the  herd.  The  fact 
is  my  garden  has  absorbed  my  energies  so  com- 
pletely I  have  had  no  time  to  write. 

Much  of  what  you  say  in  your  last  letter  is  un- 
deniably true.  Were  our  legislation  to  become  the 
crystallization  of  the  cultural  stage  reached  by  the 
majority  of  the  denizens  of  the  Eastern  Shore  of 
Maryland,  it  would  be  well-nigh  fatal  to  such  civ- 
ilization as  we  have.  That  is  why  we  Socialists 
are  so  eager  to  raise  the  cultural  level  of,  not  only 
the  Eastern  Shore,  but  of  America  and  the  World. 
It  is  also  true  that  in  a  society  divided  into  classes 
democracy  must  be  tempered  by  bribery  and  cor- 
ruption or  perish.  We  prefer  to  put  an  end  to  the 
class-divisions  that  necessitate  bribery,  sophistry, 
and  intimidation  rather  than  to  give  up  democracy 
on  account  of  evils  that  spring  not  from  its  nature, 
but  from  its  incompleteness.  Make  our  democ- 
racy industrial  as  well  as  political,  and  corruption, 
bribery,  and  sophistry  will  disappear.  That  is  the 
way  the  thing  looks  to  me,  and  I  fear  I  shall  be 


172  Men  vs.  the  Man 

unable  to  rid  myself  of  that  point  of  view  even  if 
you  hurl  at  me  your  favorite  and  somewhat  over- 
worked javelin  by  branding  my  reasoning  as  that  of 
a  "  low-caste  man."  Incidentally  let  me  remind 
you  that  on  your  own  showing  there  is  a  large 
majority  of  low-caste  men  in  the  country  and  that 
we  still  have  the  simulacrum  of  democracy,  so  that 
it  seems  entirely  possible  that  the  country  may  yet 
be  ruled  by  that  low-caste  reasoning  that  avers  that 
all  men  by  virtue  of  their  humanity  ought  to  have 
a  chance  to  lead  human  lives. 

In  your  last  letter  you  conjure  up  a  bogey  and 
tremble  before  it  like  good  Doctor  Faust  before 
Mephistopheles.  You  draw  a  grotesque  picture 
of  the  emancipated  proletariat  sending  ditch- 
diggers  to  Congress.  (Do  you  really  think  ditch- 
diggers  would  be  less  intelligent  and  honest  than 
some  of  the  millionaires  who  now  adorn  the  Sen- 
ate?) "The  boss  of  the  union,"  you  tell  me, 
"  will  aspire  to  the  Presidency.  The  secretary  of 
the  scene-shifters  will  go  to  the  Court  of  Saint 

I  feel  tempted  to  drop  into  slang  to  express  the 
horror  with  which  this  picture  thrills  my  bosom, 
but  I  will  refrain,  and  instead  inquire  how  much 
truth  there  is  in  it?  For  a  quarter  of  a  century 
the  working-class  Socialists  have  been  sending  their 
chosen  representatives  to  the  Parliaments  of  Ger- 
many, France,  and  Belgium.  Have  they  chosen 
"  low-caste  men  "  ?  Have  they  shown  what  you 

Men  vs.  the  Man  173 

term  the  "  inherent  and  ineradicable  character- 
istics of  all  low-caste  men  to  look  with  suspicion 
upon  those  whose  ambitions,  ethics,  and  ideals  are 
more  complex  than  theirs"?  The  facts  are 
against  you,  my  dear  Mencken.  No  greater  ora- 
tors or  abler  parliamentarians  than  Liebknecht, 
Bebel,  and  Singer  have  ever  sat  in  the  German 
Reichstag.  Vandervelde  is  the  greatest  statesman 
Belgium  has  yet  produced,  and  Jaures  in  France  is 
probably  the  greatest  living  orator.  These  are  the 
men  my  "  low-caste  "  comrades  have  freely  chosen 
to  represent  them.  When  the  Clemenceau  Cab- 
inet fell,  upon  whom  did  the  President  of  the 
French  Republic  call  to  form  a  cabinet?  Upon 
that  great  statesman,  Briand,  to  whom  more  than 
to  any  other  one  man  is  due  the  accomplishment 
of  the  separation  of  Church  and  State  in  France; 
and  Briand  was  originally  sent  to  the  French 
Chamber  by  the  votes  of  Socialist  workingmen. 

In  the  face  of  these  facts  you  solemnly  assure 
me  that  your  picture  "  is  not  fantastic."  It  is  to 

In  my  second  letter  I  essayed  the  role  of  the 
prophet,  and  fell  into  error  by  failing  to  take  into 
account  all  of  the  factors  in  the  problem.  I  pre- 
dicted "  that  the  present  period  of  depression  will 
last  at  least  seven  years  unless  (i)  in  the  mean- 
time *  the  increase  of  accurate  knowledge '  or  the 
hard  facts  of  adversity  lead  us  to  establish  the  Co- 
operative Commonwealth,  or  (2)  unless  a  great 

174  Men  vs.  the  Man 

war  breaks  out."  Shortly  after  I  had  written 
that  prediction  my  good  friend,  Gaylord  Wilshire, 
suggested  to  me  in  conversation  that  the  costs  of 
preparation  for  war  might  rise  so  tremendously 
as  to  be  quite  as  adequate  as  actual  war  in  caus- 
ing business  revival.  This  is  precisely  what  has 
happened,  and  we  have  now  started  on  another 
great  boom.  Germany's  need  for  an  outlet  for 
her  surplus  production  was  fast  driving  her  toward 
war  with  England.  This  caused  a  great  war 
scare,  and  the  result  has  been  an  unprecedented  and 
almost  incredible  increase  in  military  and  more 
especially  naval  expenditure.  Incredible  as  it  ap- 
pears the  excess  of  the  world's  military  and  naval 
expenditure  in  1909  over  that  of  1906  is  more 
than  equal  to  what  Russia  and  Japan  both  spent  in 
the  year  of  the  Russo-Japanese  War.  The  exact 
figures  with  their  sources  are  given  in  a  leading 
article  in  a  recent  issue  of  Wilshire' s  Magazine. 
I  frankly  confess  my  error — an  error  due  to  in- 
excusable ignorance,  for  I  ought  to  have  been  keep- 
ing track  of  the  increase  in  military  and  naval  ex- 
penditure— and  I  must  now  revise  my  prophecy. 
We  are  now  launched  on  as  wild  an  era  of  inflated 
prosperity  as  that  of  1905  and  1906  which 
brought  us  to  the  collapse  of  1907  and  1908.  How 
long  it  will  last  I  cannot  tell.  It  is  certain  that 
an  industrial  boom  such  as  we  are  now  having  will 
lead  to  the  introduction  of  much  improved  machin- 
ery and  methods,  and  thus  the  more  rapid  widen- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  175 

ing  of  the  ever  growing  gulf  between  annual  prod- 
uct and  annual  wage-account,  and  that  this  must 
sooner  or  later  lead  to  a  more  disastrous  crisis  than 
that  through  which  we  recently  passed.  But  it  is 
also  true  that  this  crisis  could  be  almost  in- 
definitely postponed  could  we  go  on  indefinitely 
constantly  increasing  the  stimulus  by  ever  larger 
military  and  naval  expenditures.  Here  is  the  ele- 
ment of  uncertainty.  How  much  increased  taxa- 
tion will  the  ruling  classes  of  Europe  and  Amer- 
ica permit? 

These  taxes  must  be  paid  by  the  propertied 
classes,  for  the  propertiless  have  nothing  to  pay 
them  with,  and  in  every  parliament  in  Christendom 
we  have  recently  witnessed  the  most  frantic  op- 
position to  the  increase  in  taxation  made  necessary 
by  the  new  naval  programmes.  It  appears  fairly 
certain  that  under  representative  government  it  will 
be  impossible  to  keep  the  stimulus  to  business  at  an 
adequate  pitch.  So  that  it  is  safe  to  say  that  after 
a  somewhat  prolonged  boom  we  will  have  the  most 
disastrous  panic  the  world  has  ever  known,  and 
that  the  middle  classes  will  be  so  weakened  by  the 
taxation  necessary  in  the  meantime  that  they  will 
be  even  worse  prepared  for  the  next  panic  than 
they  were  for  the  last  one. 

As  a  good  Nietzschean  this  crushing  of  the 
middle  classes  is  a  most  vital  matter  to  you. 
Where  are  you  going  to  breed  your  Immoralists  or 
Supermen  after  the  middle  class  is  annihilated? 

176  Men  vs.  the  Man 

They  cannot  come  from  the  gutter.  The  condi- 
tions of  working-class  life  are,  I  feel  sure  you  will 
agree,  not  favorable  for  their  production.  Our 
billionaires  may  be  immoral  enough  to  breed  Im- 
moralists,  but  unfortunately  there  are  not  enough 
of  them  to  answer  your  purpose.  Besides  I  suspect 
they  have  not  the  right  brand  of  immorality. 
Where  can  you  find  more  conventional  and  ortho- 
dox people  than  John  D.  Rockefeller  and  J.  Pier- 
pont  Morgan?  Surely  you  are  not  sanguine 
enough  to  expect  to  breed  Supermen  from  such 
sires  ? 

If  your  Nietzschean  philosophy  of  aristocracy 
is  to  be  a  workable  philosophy,  and  you  have  often 
assured  me  that  therein  lay  its  vast  superiority  over 
Socialism,  then  its  workableness  is  absolutely  de- 
pendent upon  the  preservation  of  the  middle  class, 
for  from  that  class  alone  can  you  hope  to  breed  the 
progenitors  of  your  Supermen. 

America  was  formerly  the  paradise  of  the  mid- 
dle class.  Our  typical  American  ideals  are  mid- 
dle class  ideals.  Our  great  achievements  in  his- 
tory were  the  work  of  the  middle  class.  But  even 
to-day  it  requires  a  careful  search  to  find  here  and 
there  a  survival  of  the  sturdy  middle  class  who 
made  American  history.  The  railway,  the  trust, 
and  the  department  store  have  either  annihilated 
or  transformed  beyond  recognition  that  sturdy, 
admirable  class  among  whom  you  and  I  grew  up. 
As  independent  producers  or  traders  they  can  only 

Men  vs.  the  Man  177 

exist  to-day  by  exceeding  the  rate  of  exploitation 
of  employees  practised  by  the  trust  and  the  de- 
partment store.  They  exist  economically  only  by 
the  contemptuous  sufferance  of  their  more  powerful 
rivals.  Whether  they  wish  it  or  not  the  condi- 
tions of  their  economic  existence  compel  them  to  be 
either  sycophants  or  vampires  or  more  often  both. 
This  is  a  far  cry  from  the  men  who  elected  Jack- 
son and  Lincoln  to  carry  out  their  will  at  Wash- 

Do  you  think  that  this  change  in  their  character 
makes  them  more  or  less  fit  to  be  the  ancestors 
of  Supermen? 

But  the  worst  is  yet  to  come.  Within  a  decade 
a  new  and  ominous  figure  has  loomed  upon  the 
economic  horizon.  He  as  yet  has  no  accepted 
name,  but  I  will  use  the  name  that  Professor  Veb- 
len  has  bestowed  upon  him  in  his  brilliant  paper, 
"  On  the  Nature  of  Capital."  Veblen  calls  him 
the  Pecuniary  Magnate. 

The  difference  between  Marx's  Capitalist  and 
Veblen's  Pecuniary  Magnate  is  this :  they  are  both 
owners  of  factories  and  railways,  etc.,  and  ac- 
cumulate money  by  taking  the  surplus-value  pro- 
duced by  the  workers,  but  the  Pecuniary  Magnate 
is  more  than  a  capitalist.  Besides  the  money  that 
he  makes  as  a  capitalist  (a  la  Marx)  he  makes 
far  more  tremendous  profits  as  a  dealer  in  capital 
securities.  What  he  makes  as  a  capitalist  comes 
from  the  workers  and  in  most  cases  has  no  per- 

178  Men  vs.  the  Man 

ceptible  relation  to  his  business  ability.  He  makes 
just  as  much  if  he  is  in  Europe  or  confined  in  an 
asylum.  What  he  makes  on  the  market  as  a 
Pecuniary  Magnate  comes  from  the  middle  class 
(up  to  and  including  the  lesser  millionaires,  and 
at  times  including  his  brother  Magnates),  and  the 
amount  of  this  profit  depends  very  directly  and 
perceptibly  on  his  ability,  or  on  that  of  his  brokers 
and  lawyers.  It  is  not  infrequently  to  his  interest 
as  a  Pecuniary  Magnate  to  wreck  an  industry  from 
which  he  draws  revenue  as  a  capitalist. 

Such  Pecuniary  Magnates  as  we  have  yet  had, 
Veblen  points  out,  have  spent  their  years  of 
strength  and  virility  in  amassing  sufficient  capital 
to  make  them  formidable  as  Pecuniary  Magnates, 
and  by  the  time  the  accumulation  has  reached  the 
requisite  dimensions,  they  have  lost  the  vigor  to 
use  this  vast  power  energetically.  We  have  yet  to 
see  the  power  of  the  typical  Pecuniary  Magnate 
wielded  by  a  young  man  of  Napoleonic  grasp  and 
energy.  But  Harriman  has  given  us  a  hint  or 
two  of  what  we  may  expect  in  the  not  distant 

From  the  time  that  Jay  Gould  wrecked  the  Erie 
up  to  the  time  that  Harriman  wrecked  the  Chi- 
cago and  Alton,  most  of  our  railway  stocks  and 
bonds  were  fairly  safe  investments  for  middle 
class  people.  Since  the  Alton  coup  few  investors 
have  been  wholly  free  from  insomnia. 

Sooner  or  later  there  is  bound  to  appear  a  Pe- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  179 

cuniary  Magnate  who  will  combine  the  energy  and 
brutality  of  a  Roosevelt  with  the  Napoleonic  grasp 
and  Nietzschean  hardness  of  a  Harriman  and  the 
sagacity  of  a  Jim  Hill.  With  his  advent  insomnia 
will  become  epidemic  in  all  classes  save  the  work- 
ing class.  Men  will  seek  for  safe  investments, 
and  they  shall  not  find  one. 

The  feeling  of  utter  insecurity  among  the  lesser 
millionaires  will  become  wholly  unbearable.  All 
intelligent  men  and  women  will  become  Socialists, 
and  the  Social  Revolution  will  be  accomplished  so 
peaceably  that  few  will  know  till  years  afterward 
that  a  revolution  has  taken  place. 

This  is  my  creed,  my  philosophy,  and  it  seems 
to  me  both  workable  and  inevitable.  Given  the 
Napoleonic  Pecuniary  Magnate,  and  denying  the 
socialistic  denoument,  your  philosophy  of  Aristoc- 
racy seems  to  me  not  only  unworkable  but  utterly 
impossible.  Again  I  ask,  where  will  you  breed 
your  Immoralists? 

But  it  is  not  merely  on  economics  that  we  differ. 
Ethically  and  philosophically  we  are  as  far  asunder 
as  the  poles.  I  hold  that  it  is  profoundly  true  that 
"  No  man  lives  unto  himself  alone,"  and  that  the 
most  insane  sentence  that  was  ever  penned  is  Max 
Stirner's  "  Nothing  is  more  to  me  than  myself." 
I  hold  that  Nietzsche  taught  an  insane  philosophy, 
and  that  the  most  logical  thing  he  ever  did  was  to 
go  insane  himself.  The  most  sacred  thing  we 
know  is  the  individual,  but  the  individual  can  never 

180  Men  vs.  the  Man 

reach  a  high  or  noble  development  by  trampling 
upon  his  infinitely  complex  obligations  to  other  in- 
dividuals. The  whole  cosmos  and  all  that  therein 
is,  is  dialectically  interrelated  throughout  all  time 
and  space.  You  and  I  are  bound  by  countless  ties 
to  all  the  men  and  women,  aye,  and  apes  and  mon- 
keys and  reptiles  and  fishes,  who  have  lived  on  the 
earth  before  us,  and  we  have  just  as  close  and  in- 
escapable ties  with  all  those  who  shall  follow  us, 
and  with  equal  firmness  are  we  bound  up  with  all 
the  men  and  women  and  beasts  and  birds  and  trees 
and  flowers  now  on  earth.  Disregard  of  human 
solidarity  and  of  cosmical  inter-relation  ends 
logically  in  insanity. 

The  introduction  of  the  Machine  Process  tended 
to  standardize  all  life  and  thus  to  cramp  Individu- 
ality just  as  a  Chinawoman's  feet  are  deformed  in 
her  shoes.  The  revolt,  the  movement  to  assert 
individuality,  found  noble  expression  in  literature. 
Byron  and  Shelley  and  Goethe  are  full  of  it.  But 
it  was  not  carried  to  a  false  and  insane  extreme 
until  the  middle  of  the  last  century  by  Max 
Stirner.  Nietzsche  has  done  little  more  than  re- 
peat the  extravagances  of  Stirner,  though  he  has 
clothed  them  in  more  poetic  beauty  in  his  "  Thus 
Spake  Zarathustra."  Curiously  enough  the  ex- 
treme Individualists  always  claim  Ibsen  as  one  of 
their  prophets.  They  forget  that  while  he  en- 
riched the  world  with  "  A  Doll's  House  " — the 
noblest  expression  of  the  right  and  even  the  duty 

Men  vs.  the  Man  181 

of  the  individual  to  be  herself  and  live  out  her  own 
life— he  also  gave  us  "  Little  Eyolf  "  and  "  The 
Lady  from  the  Sea  "  to  complement  "  A  Doll's 
House  "  by  showing  us  that  happiness  was  only  to 
be  found  in  love  and  work  for  others. 

Ibsen  should  have  been  safe  from  the  misunder- 
standing of  his  teaching  that  is  so  wide-spread,  for 
long  before  he  preached  his  gospel  of  healthy  In- 
dividualism in  "  A  Doll's  House,"  he  had  given 
us  in  "  Peer  Gynt "  the  deepest,  truest,  and  most 
delicious  satire  upon  the  absurd  attempt  to  "  be 
oneself  "  at  all  costs.  He  had  shown  that  it  led 
to  moral  instability  (if  not  degeneration)  and  to 
mental  insanity. 

Surely  you  remember  how  Peer  with  his  mania 
for  "  being  himself "  was  greeted  by  Professor 
Begriffenfeldt,  the  Director  of  the  Mad-house  at 
Cairo,  as  the  Kaiser  of  the  lunatics. 

"Kaiser?"  says  Peer.  "Of  course!"  replies 
the  professor. 

But  the  honor's  so  great,  so  entirely  excessive 


Oh,  do  not  let  any  false  modesty  sway  you 
At  an  hour  such  as  this. 


But  at  least  give  me  time 

No,  indeed,  I'm  not  fit;  I'm  completely  dumbfounded! 

1 82  Men  vs.  the  Man 


A  man  who  has  fathomed  the  Sphinx's  meaning, 
A  man  who's  himself ! 


Ay,  but  that's  just  the  rub. 
It's  true  that  in  everything  I  am  myself; 
But  here  the  point  is,  if  I  follow  your  meaning, 
To  be,  so  to  phrase  it,  beside  oneself. 


Beside  ?    No,  there  you  are  strangely  mistaken ; 

It's  here,  sir,  that  one  is  oneself  with  a  vengeance. 

Oneself  and  nothing  whatever  besides. 

We  go,  full  sail,  as  our  very  selves. 

Each  one  shuts  himself  up  in  the  barrel  of  self, 

In  the  self-fermentation  he  dives  to  the  bottom, — 

With  the  self-bung  he  seals  it  hermetically, 

And  seasons  the  staves  in  the  well  of  self. 

No  one  has  tears  for  the  other's  woes  ; 

No  one  has  mind  for  the  other's  ideas. 

We're  our  very  selves,  both  in  thought  and  tone, 

Ourselves  to  the  spring-board's  uttermost  verge, — 

And  so,  if  a  Kaiser's  to  fill  the  Throne, 

It  is  clear  that  you  are  the  very  man. 

The  same  philosophy  made  both  Peer  Gynt  and 
Friedrich  Nietzsche  kings  of  the  lunatics. 

You  will  also,  no  doubt,  remember  that  when 
the  Button-Molder  came  to  fetch  Peer's  soul  and 

Men  vs.  the  Man  183 

melt  it  up  in  the  casting-ladle,  Peer  insisted  upon 
his  answering  the  question : 

"  What  is  it,  at  bottom,  this  '  being  oneself '  ?  " 
The  Button-Molder's  answer  was: 
"To  be  oneself  is:  to  slay  oneself." 

This  is  the  highest  word  of  wisdom  of  the 
greatest  and  sanest  Individualist  of  modern  times, 
and  it  is  but  a  paraphrase  of  the  words  of  Jesus: 

"  For  whosoever  will  save  his  life  shall  lose  it; 
and  whosoever  will  lose  his  life  for  my  sake  shall 
find  it." 

By  writing  "  Peer  Gynt "  and  "  Little  Eyolf  " 
the  author  of  "  A  Doll's  House  "  has  shown  us 
that  he  realized  as  fully  as  Jesus  that  love  was 
the  only  soil  upon  which  true  and  noble  Individu- 
ality could  flourish. 

Marx  and  Engels  expressed  the  same  thought 
with  equal  clearness,  though  with  less  warmth,  in 
that  classic  of  the  Socialist  movement,  the  Com- 
munist Manifesto,  when,  in  describing  the  society 
of  the  future,  they  said : 

"  In  place  of  the  old  bourgeois  society,  with  its 
classes  and  class  antagonisms,  we  shall  have  an  as- 
sociation, in  which  the  free  development  of  each  is 
the  condition  for  the  free  development  of  all." 

Solidarity  is  the  condition   precedent   for  the 

184  Men  vs.  the  Man 

blossoming  of  individuality.  Jesus,  Ibsen,  Marx, 
and  Engels  were  all  Individualists,  but  they  were 
sane  enough  to  recognize  that  Love  is  the  highest 
and  noblest  expression  of  Individuality.  Nietzsche 
and  Peer  Gynt  were  blind  to  this  simple  truth  and 
they  became  Princes  in  Bedlam. 

Many  a  Giotto  to-day  has  no  chance  to  develop 
his  individuality,  because  he  has  not  the  luck  to 
be  discovered  by  a  Cimabue.  The  Socialist  aim 
is  not  to  provide  a  Cimabue  for  every  Giotto,  but 
to  make  the  conditions  of  life  so  equal  that  no 
Giotto  shall  need  a  Cimabue.  We  do  not  hold 
that  every  boy  and  girl  has  the  genius  of  a  Giotto, 
but  we  do  hold  that  every  human  being  has  an 
individuality  worth  developing,  and  that  every 
stunted,  dwarfed,  or  atrophied  individuality  makes 
the  world  measurably  poorer.  The  present  reck- 
less sacrifice  of  individuality  robs  life  of  interest 
and  distinction. 

So  that,  my  dear  Mencken,  it  is  in  the  name  of 
Individualism,  strange  as  it  may  appear  to  you, 
that  I  call  upon  you  once  more  to  become  the  com- 
rade of 

Yours  faithfully, 

R.  R.  LA  M. 



Saving  only  psychical  research,  no  modern  cult 
seems  to  be  so  well  outfitted  with  college  professors 
as  Socialism.  Early  in  this  correspondence,  if  I 
remember  rightly,  you  began  to  set  them  at  my 
heels — Prof.  What's-His-Name,  the  assassin  of  the 
doctrine  of  inherited  traits;  Prof.  This-and-That, 
the  Austrian  statistician,  rhapsodist  and  seventh 
son  of  a  seventh  son,  half  Diophantus  of  Alex- 
andria and  half  Tom  Lawson,  with  his  crusade 
for  $5,000  plowboys  and  a  workday  of  one 
hour,  twenty-two  minutes  and  thirty  seconds;  and 
sundry  other  instructors  of  'rah-' rah  boys,  first  and 
last,  specified  and  anonymous,  whiskered  and  aston- 
ishing, cocksure  and  preposterous.  Now,  near  the 
end,  comes  Prof.  Veblen,  with  his  discovery  of  the 
Pecuniary  Magnate,  a  fantastic  and  apparently 
novel  beast  of  prey,  gorged  to  the  gullet  with  bleed- 
ing hearts. 

The  name  of  Prof.  Veblen  is  familiar;  I  have 
encountered  his  speculations  more  than  once.  And 
his  Pecuniary  Magnate  is  no  stranger,  either,  for 
Col.  Henry  Watterson,  the  last  of  the  Jeffersoni- 


1 86  Men  vs.  the  Man 

ans,  whose  compositions  I  read  diligently,  has  long 
excoriated  him  under  the  style  or  appellation  of 
the  Hell  Hound  of  Plutocracy.  Col.  Watter- 
son,  I  believe,  is  a  man  of  quite  respectable  an- 
tiquity, but  his  Hell  Hound  was  ancient  long  be- 
fore he  was  born.  In  medieval  Venice  they  called 
him  Shylock,  and  there  he  preyed  upon  Antonio, 
the  merchant,  who  preyed,  in  turn,  upon  the 
groundlings  of  that  fair  city.  Shylock  was  not  a 
captain  of  industry,  for  the  Jews,  in  his  time, 
had  not  yet  invented  ready-made  clothing.  He 
was,  on  the  contrary,  a  purely  Pecuniary  Magnate 
— a  gambler  in  credits,  a  fattener  upon  panics,  a 
star  performer  at  financial  inquests  and  autopsies. 
Your  description  of  the  Magnate  of  Veblen  would 
have  fitted  him  exactly,  as  the  paper  fits  the  wall. 
When  Antonio's  "  argosies  with  portly  sail  " 
were  posted  as  overdue,  the  gods  seemed  to  smile 
upon  Shylock,  for  it  was  out  of  just  such  mis- 
fortunes that  his  potency  arose.  Antonio,  the 
honest  ship-owner,  who  deprecated  speculation  and 
tried  to  put  an  end  to  it  by  lending  money,  when 
he  had  it,  without  interest,  was  now  in  hard  case, 
and  had  to  make  terms  with  the  Jew.  And,  hav- 
ing the  advantage,  the  Jew  drove  it  home.  Nothing 
less  than  the  complete  annihilation  of  his  victim 
would  content  him.  The  lust  for  mere  money 
was  transcended  and  forgotten:  the  thing  that 
moved  him  now  was  a  yearning  to  achieve  a  stag- 
gering and  unprecedented  coup.  He  wanted  to 

Men  vs.  the  Man  187 

wreck  a  great  merchant,  as  Jay  Gould,  years  after, 
was  to  wreck  a  great  railroad,  for  thereby  it  would 
be  proclaimed  to  all  Venice  that  he,  Shylock,  was 
a  financial  czar  of  czars.  He  had  the  "  Napole- 
onic grasp  and  energy  "  of  which  you  speak.  He 
had  not  only  money,  but  also  imagination. 

But  Shylock  came  a  cropper,  and  I  rather  fancy 
that  any  Pecuniary  Magnate  who  tries  to  imitate 
him  in  his  plan  will  also  imitate  him  in  his  failure. 
The  reason  for  this  is  not  far  to  seek.  It  lies  in 
the  fact  that  a  Pecuniary  Magnate,  no  matter  how 
enormous  his  resources  and  how  magnificent  his 
immorality,  is  still  a  merely  mortal  man,  whose 
life,  like  yours  and  mine,  hangs  by  a  single  hair. 
Cut  that  hair,  and  he  is  no  longer  worth  fearing 
as  an  Antichrist,  for,  as  you  have  yourself  pointed 
out,  the  might  and  menace  of  capital,  when  all  is 
said  and  done,  are  not  so  much  in  the  capital  it- 
self as  in  the  ambition  and  cunning  behind  it. 
Shylock  made  that  discovery  when  he  demanded 
his  pound  of  flesh.  The  laws  of  Venice  ordered 
that  he  have  it,  but  the  laws  of  Venice,  reflecting 
the  public  opinion  of  that  republic,  ordered  also 
that  it  be  the  last  entry  upon  his  cashbook.  Thus 
Shylock  faced  a  perfectly  simple  situation:  either 
he  could  give  up  his  pound  of  flesh  or  he  could 
give  up  his  life.  He  chose  the  latter  alternative. 

Strange  as  it  may  seem,  I  believe  that  much  the 
same  choice  will  confront  the  Pecuniary  Magnate 
of  the  future  who  essays  to  achieve  the  cosmic  lar- 

1 88  Men  vs.  the  Man 

cenies  of  Prof.  Veblen's  nightmare.  He  will  go 
on  gobbling  lesser  millionaires  until  he  has  sent 
them  all  back  to  work,  and  then  he  will  proceed  to 
inoculate  the  middle  classes  with  those  insomnia 
germs  you  mention,  and  then  he  will  push  up  the 
price  of  a  wheaten  loaf  to  six  cents,  to  eight,  to 
ten,  and  the  price  of  a  can  of  beer  to  twenty-five 
cents,  to  $i,  to  $10,  to  $100 — and  then,  one  fine 
morning,  a  nickel-tipped  bullet,  proceeding  from  a 
Mauser  pistol  "  in  the  hands  of  some  party  or 
parties  unknown  to  this  jury"  will  go  whistling 
through  his  viscera,  and  he  will  cease  to  trouble  this 
harassed  world.  Sic  semper  tyrannis!  Men  will 
triumph  over  the  man ! 

I  see  you  shudder.  You  are  a  philosopher  and 
detest  melodrama  and  bloodshed.  You  are  an  ag- 
nostic and  have  none  of  the  demonologist's  flair 
for  executions  and  butchery.  You  believe  that  the 
sorrows  of  the  world  are  to  find  their  surcease,  not 
in  assassinations,  but  in  laws.  Like  the  lamented 
William  J.  Bryan,  and  other  prophets  of  the  new 
order,  you  put  your  faith  in  legislation.  You  pro- 
pose to  abolish  castes  by  an  amendment  to  the  Con- 
stitution. You  propose  to  perform  sanguinary 
major  operations  upon  the  body  politic,  using  one 
Act  of  Congress  as  saw,  sponge,  and  scalpel,  and 
another  Act  of  Congress  as  anaesthetic. 

This  sweet  faith  in  whereases  and  therefore-be- 
it-resolveds,  my  dear  La  Monte,  seems  to  me  to 
be  as  magnificently  fatuous  as  the  old  faith  in 

Men  vs.  the  Man  189 

divine  revelations,  holy  shrines,  and  all  the  other 
gimcrackery  of  Christian  sorcery.  In  a  large 
sense,  I  am  convinced,  legislation  is  always  an  ef- 
fect rather  than  a  cause,  and  as  such,  it  can  play 
but  a  minor  role  in  the  reformation  of  the  world. 
It  is  inevitably  a  good  distance  behind  the  event, 
and  very  often  it  is  shockingly  inaccurate  in  in- 
terpreting the  event.  Witness,  for  example,  the 
Fifteenth  Amendment.  Witness,  again,  the  ef- 
forts of  the  Liberal  Party  in  England  to  overcome, 
by  bills  in  Parliament,  the  operation  of  the  law  of 
natural  selection  in  the  lower  orders.  The  pos- 
session of  the  franchise  did  not  make  the  American 
negro  a  civilized  man,  though  every  one  knows  that 
the  franchise  is  an  important  part  of  every  civilized 
man's  heritage.  And  by  the  same  token,  the 
state's  effort  to  keep  England's  loafers  and  incom- 
petents from  starving  to  death  has  certainly  not 
transformed  them  into  efficient  men,  with  palpable 
claims  upon  life  and  happiness,  though  every  one 
knows  that  efficient  men  are  principally  notable  for 
the  fact  that  they  never  starve  to  death. 

But  here  I  go  sky-hooting  into  the  interstellar 
spaces  of  political  quasi-science  when  my  actual 
purpose  is  merely  to  show  that,  by  virtue  of  his 
very  mortality,  the  ultimate  Pecuniary  Magnate  of 
Prof.  Veblen's  dreams  must  ever  remain  more 
phantom  than  actual  felon.  It  is  undoubtedly 
true,  I  suppose,  that  men  who  combine  his  enor- 
mous wealth  and  his  epic  immorality  will  be  born 

190  Men  vs.  the  Man 

into  the  world  in  days  to  come,  but  that  they  will 
ever  find  it  possible  to  realize  their  anthropoph- 
agous ambitions  is  more  than  I  am  willing  to 
admit.  Human  existence  is  not  a  solo  a  capella, 
but  a  battle,  and  even  the  under-dog  can  inflict 
dangerous  wounds.  Given  certain  changes  in  the 
time,  place,  conditions  or  weapons  of  the  contest 
and  the  under-dog,  in  truth,  may  suddenly  become 
the  upper-dog.  I  may  best  explain  what  I  mean, 
perhaps,  by  dropping  dogs  and  going  back  to  Pe- 
cuniary Magnates.  In  a  struggle  for  money,  let 
us  say,  between  a  Pecuniary  Magnate  and  the  great 
masses  of  the  plain  people,  it  is  obvious  that  the 
Magnate  has  enormous  advantages,  for  struggling 
for  money  is  his  profession,  and  he  has  not  only 
acquired  extraordinary  skill  in  it,  but  he  has  also 
attained  to  a  monopoly  of  the  necessary  materials 
and  apparatus.  But  suppose  the  efforts  of  this 
Magnate  are  suddenly  shifted  from  the  struggle 
for  money  to  a  struggle  to  remain  alive,  or  to  keep 
out  of  jail.  Has  he  any  advantages  now?  Not 
at  all.  On  the  contrary,  he  suffers  enormous  dis- 
advantages— so  enormous  that  they  place  him  com- 
pletely at  the  mercy  of  his  foes.  If  more  than  half 
of  them  decide,  for  instance,  that  he  must  go  to  jail 
for  the  rest  of  his  life,  or  that  he  must  pay  a  half 
or  all  of  his  fortune  into  the  common  treasury  in  ex- 
piation of  his  misdeeds,  he  must  inevitably  do  these 
things.  Nothing  in  the  world  can  save  him  then, 
for  once  in  jail,  his  stock  market  generalship  be- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  191 

comes  as  useless  as  his  automobile,  arid  once  his 
money  is  gone,  it  can  no  longer  buy  him  liberty. 
Going  further,  it  is  demonstrable,  I  think,  that  if 
but  one  solitary  man  in  all  his  host  of  foes  decides 
firmly  that  he  must  die  for  the  public  good,  he  will 
inevitably  die  on  schedule  time.  And  once  dead, 
he  is  no  longer  a  Pecuniary  Magnate. 

The  easy  answer  to  all  this  is  that  the  experi- 
ence of  the  past  and  present  proves  the  Magnate 
to  stand  in  no  such  perils.  There  is  John  D. 
Rockefeller,  for  example.  Has  he  been  sent  to 
jail?  Has  anyone  tried  to  kill  him,  or  even  ad- 
vocated killing  him?  When  that  $32,000,000 
fine  was  assessed  against  him  did  anyone  save 
Judge  Landis  believe  seriously  that  he  would  ever 
have  to  pay  it?  As  a  sincere  friend,  my  dear  La 
Monte,  I  warn  you  to  steer  clear  of  this  easy  an- 
swer, for  lurking  beneath  it  there  is  a  very  serious 
criticism  of  Socialism,  which  criticism,  I  may  as 
well  explain  at  once,  lies  in  the  fact  that  the  vast 
majority  of  sane  persons  hold  all  of  your  socialistic 
scarecrows  and  bugaboos  to  be  harmless.  The 
American  people,  in  a  word,  permit  John  D. 
Rockefeller  to  live  because,  after  giving  a  great 
deal  of  attention  to  him  and  listening  to  all  of 
the  pleas  for  his  extinction,  they  have  decided  (that 
is,  through  the  medium  of  their  regular  staff  of 
leaders,  bosses,  and  law-makers)  that  it  would  be 
childish  and  useless  to  kill  him,  or  even  to  send  him 
to  jail,  or  to  confiscate  his  millions.  True  enough, 

192  Men  vs.  the  Man 

he  makes  an  excellent  profit  on  the  oil  he  sells,  but 
it  is  hard  to  convince  a  nation  of  traders  that  such 
an  accomplishment,  in  itself,  is  felonious,  or  even  in 
bad  taste.  True  enough,  he  devotes  a  good  deal 
of  money  to  evangelistic  futilities,  but  what  tax- 
payer, paying  policeman  and  fireman  to  guard  un- 
taxed  convents,  mosques,  and  mission  houses,  will 
throw  the  first  stone?  No;  John  will  never  do 
as  a  Hell  Hound.  He  is  valuable  as  a  herring,  to 
drag  across  the  trail  in  political  campaigns,  and 
he  provides  a  livelihood,  as  Immoralist,  to  a  few 
dozen  Juniuses  of  the  uplift  magazines,  but  the 
only  permanent  emotion  that  his  life  and  deeds 
nourish  in  the  breast  of  the  average  healthy  Amer- 
ican is  that  of  envy.  There,  but  for  the  unfair- 
ness of  God,  go  I.  So  says  the  ultimate  con- 
sumer. He  envies  John,  but  does  not  hate  him. 

Do  I  hear  you  say  that  John  is  not  the  worst — 
that  his  industrial  enterprise  and  wise  spending 
in  some  measure  mitigate  his  money-changing — 
that  he  is  not,  at  bottom,  true  to  the  Pecuniary 
Magnate  type?  Shame  on  you!  The  spectacle 
of  a  good  Socialist  defending  Rockefeller,  even 
with  reservations  and  apologies,  is  indecent.  I 
shall  save  you  the  threatened  disgrace  by  defend- 
ing him  myself.  That  is  to  say,  I  shall  concede 
that  Rockefeller  is  not  a  fair  specimen  of  the 
Veblenian  Magnate,  for  his  principal  business  is 
that  of  selling  oil,  and  not  that  of  raiding  the 
stock  market.  Such  raiding  as  he  has  essayed  has 

Men  vs.  the  Man  193 

been  prompted,  indeed,  chiefly  by  lawful,  and  even 
laudable,  notions  of  self-defense.  He  is  not  a 
speculator  and  his  activities  have  seldom  pro- 
duced the  insomnia  of  which  you  speak  in  the  re- 
tired shop-keepers,  widows,  and  superannuated 
clergymen  who  invest  their  all  in  the  securities  of 
Mexican  mines  and  other  rosy  enterprises. 

But  John's  disqualification  need  not  halt  us.  He 
fails  to  meet  Prof.  Veblen's  specifications,  but  that 
does  not  prove  the  Pecuniary  Magnate  to  be  a 
mere  John  Doe  of  the  Socialist  indictment.  This 
Magnate,  you  may  argue,  actually  does  exist, 
healthy,  happy,  and  immoral,  with  his  atrophied 
conscience,  his  exaggerated  ego,  and  his  sneer  upon 
his  face.  One  day  we  find  him  cornering  the 
wheat  market  in  Chicago;  and  next  day  he  is  bear- 
ing Coppers  in  New  York.  In  legitimate  com- 
merce and  industry  he  has  no  interest  whatever. 
His  business  is  to  sell,  at  famine  prices,  commodi- 
ties that  he  does  not  own ;  to  lend  at  usurious  rates 
money  that  he  doesn't  possess ;  to  prey,  in  a  word, 
upon  fear,  poverty,  hunger,  and  sore  need;  to  profit 
inhumanly  by  droughts,  catastrophes,  and  acts  of 
God.  His  name,  in  the  wheat  pit  or  on  the  curb, 
is  Joe  Leiter,  or  Curtis  Jadwin,  or  Charlie  Morse. 
He  is  as  nefariously  useless  as  an  archbishop,  and 
as  indecently  unpatriotic  as  a  politician. 

Is  there  anything  to  be  said  for  this  man?  Does 
any  extant  system  of  political  economy,  ethics,  or 
theology  defend  him?  Does  anyone  propose  a 

194  Men  vs.  the  Man 

vote  of  thanks  to  him  for  his  perilous  and  painful 
labors  ?  I  think  not.  Not  even  the  church,  which 
has  room  on  its  roll  of  honor  for  witch-burners, 
tyrants,  and  cut-throats  unspeakable,  for  the  sav- 
ages who  killed  Bruno  and  drove  Galileo  to  his 
knees — not  even  the  church  undertakes  to  clasp 
this  adventurer  to  its  bosom.  It  will  take  his 
money,  true  enough,  and  it  will  even  point  out  to 
him  the  prudence  of  being  liberal,  but  it  will  not 
guarantee  him  safe  conduct  beyond  the  Styx.  In 
a  word,  the  whole  world  is  this  man's  foe — but 
only  when  it  sits  down  calmly  f  as  moralist,  to  pon- 
der his  misdeeds. 

You  catch  my  meaning,  of  course.  It  is  this: 
that  the  world  seldom  sits  down  calmly,  as  moral- 
ist, to  ponder  anything ;  that  the  world,  as  a  world, 
finds  any  serious  meditation  a  toilsome  and  fever- 
ish business.  Its  acts,  like  those  of  a  woman,  are 
the  product,  not  of  ratiocination,  but  of  emotion. 
Now  and  then,  a  gust  of  violent  anger  strikes  it, 
and  then  it  is  for  stamping  out  this  Pecuniary  Mag- 
nate on  the  instant,  as  one  stamps  out  a  spider,  and 
without  paying  any  regard  whatever  to  the  laws 
it  has  made  in  the  past,  or  to  the  rights  that  may 
belong  to  its  victim  as  criminal.  At  such  times  he 
appears  in  but  one  aspect;  he  is  a  villain  undiluted, 
a  wretch  beyond  mercy,  a  felon  unpardonable.  The 
fact  that  he  may  also  bear  other  aspects — that  he 
may  be  a  freeman  and  a  tax-payer,  guaranteed  by 
law  in  the  enjoyment  of  his  property;  that  he 

Men  vs.  the  Man  195 

may  have  a  wife  or  wives  and  innumerable  children 
depending  upon  him  for  support,  that  he  may  hold 
excellent  views  regarding  total  immersion,  the  glory 
of  the  Stars  and  Stripes,  and  the  curse  of  rum — 
all  of  this  is  forgotten.  He  appears  merely  as  a 
captured  outlaw,  waiting  to  be  lynched,  and  while 
the  public  anger  flames,  nothing  is  thought  of  but 
the  rope. 

But  the  emotion  of  anger,  luckily  for  all  such 
gentlemen,  is  short-lived.  You  and  I,  for  all  our 
self-indulgence  and  lack  of  piety,  find  it  impossible 
to  be  thoroughly  angry  for  more  than  the  fraction 
of  an  hour.  Ten  minutes  after  the  drum  ceases  to 
thunder  beneath  my  window  I  cease  to  damn  the 
Salvation  Army  and  the  laws  which  permit  it  to 
torture  me.  Ten  minutes  after  the  first  spurt  of 
blood  you  rescue  your  offending  razor  from  its 
exile  in  the  ash-barrel.  The  public  sticks  to  anger 
longer,  but  not  much  longer.  By  dint  of  heroic 
effort,  it  sometimes  manages  to  remain  desperately 
enraged  for  a  month,  but  that  is  the  limit  of  its 
capacity.  Before  the  chance  assassin  can  summon 
up  his  courage,  or  the  slow-moving  court  can  get  to 
No.  2367,  or  the  conservative  committee  is  ready 
to  report  H.  B.  6667,  the  public's  temperature  is 
back  at  98.5,  its  pulse  has  sunk  to  75,  and  the  re- 
action has  set  in.  By  that  time,  as  a  rule,  the 
Pecuniary  Magnate  has  gone  broke.  His  widowed 
mother,  to  save  him  from  ignominious  toil,  must 
give  him  alms  from  her  scanty  millions. 

196  Men  vs.  the  Man 

No;  the  public's  anger  doesn't  last  long,  and  is 
seldom  very  violent  while  it  lasts.  Nine  times  out 
of  ten,  indeed,  the  Pecuniary  Magnate  doesn't 
anger  it  at  all.  To  the  farmers  whose  wheat  he 
doubles  in  value,  he  appears  in  the  light  of  an 
economic  Messiah;  and  to  the  consumers  whose 
bread  he  fills  with  gases — well,  setting  aside  the 
Socialists  and  other  connoisseurs  of  outrage  among 
them,  how  do  these  consumers  actually  regard  their 
oppressor?  Do  they  denounce  him  as  a  criminal 
and  demand  his  banishment?  I  think  not.  Do 
they  call  upon  their  representatives  to  make  laws 
against  him,  or  even  to  enforce  the  laws  already 
existing?  Seldom.  Do  they  burn  him  in  effigy, 
sack  his  palaces,  guillotine  his  morganatic  wives, 
and  teach  the  young  to  loathe  him?  I  fear  they 
do  not.  And  the  reason  for  their  doing  not,  my 
dear  La  Monte,  lies  in  the  fact  that  they  are  too 
busy  cheering  the  sport.  It  is  the  king  of  all 
games,  this  cornering  of  the  wheat  market.  It  is 
made  brilliant  by  stroke  and  counter-stroke,  thrust, 
parry,  and  surprise.  It  has  the  dramatic  grip  of 
a  colossal  melodrama,  with  a  hero  twelve  feet  tall, 
and  as  strong  as  an  aurochs.  It  is  better  than  a 
battle  for  the  heavy-weight  championship,  or  a 
minor  war.  It  has  suspense,  action,  climax.  It  is 
sport  made  sublime. 

This,  I  presume  to  maintain,  is  the  customary  at- 
titude of  the  public  toward  the  Pecuniary  Mag- 
nate's most  ruthless  rapines.  When  it  gives  seri- 

Men  vs.  the  Man 


ous  and  thoughtful  consideration  to  him,  and  at- 
tempts to  estimate  the  morality,  utility,  and  ulti- 
mate effect  of  his  activity,  it  is  apt,  as  I  have  ad- 
mitted, to  advocate  his  demolition;  but  it  is  quite 
extraordinary,  you  must  grant,  for  the  public,  as 
a  public,  to  undertake  any  such  elaborate  medita- 
tions. To  the  common  man,  reflection  is  a  pain- 
ful and  uninviting  business.  There  is,  indeed, 
some  flavor  of  the  sinister  about  it.  Its  natural 
fruit  seems  to  be  paradox,  predicament,  doubt. 
His  inclination  is  to  get  his  emotional  thrill  out  of 
the  event  itself,  and  to  let  its  inner  significance 
go  hang.  He  has  found,  by  experience,  that  any 
inquiry  into  causes  is  bound  to  engender  a  feeling 
of  discomfort  as  acute  as  that  which  accompanies 
his  Sunday  clothes.  It  is  an  enterprise  as  tedious 
as  standing  on  one  leg.  What  ho !  the  band  brays 
and  the  clowns  are  in  the  ring !  Away  to  the  big 
show !  Who  cares  ? 

But  the  Pecuniary  Magnate — what  of  him? 
Does  all  of  this  prove  him  harmless?  Not  at  all. 
It  merely  proves  that,  taking  one  year  with  an- 
other, the  great  masses  of  the  plain  people  choose 
to  treat  him  as  if  he  were  so.  When  he  is  a  Mor- 
gan, gobbling  trusts  by  the  dozen,  and  disgorging 
them  again,  after  absorbing  their  proteids,  as 
super-trusts  and  trust-trusts,  he  is  a  hero,  pure  and 
simple.  The  drama  of  it  overcomes  them;  they 
pass  into  a  state  of  emotional  ecstasy,  as  at  the 
apotheosis  of  Little  Eva  or  at  Monte  Cristo's 

198  Men  vs.  the  Man 

blood-curdling  "  One  1  "  If  he  is  a  young  Chicago 
gambler,  staking  his  millions  upon  the  price  of 
wheat  next  month,  he  becomes  a  sort  of  glorified 
Sharkey,  with  a  flavor,  too,  of  Dr. Cook  and  the 
Wright  Brothers.  Some  hold  that  he  will  win, 
and  others  hold  that  he  will  lose,  but  all  hope  for 
a  hot  fight.  If  he  wins  he  remains  a  public  char- 
acter until  the  next  prodigy  appears.  If  he  loses, 
he  is  mourned  for  a  day  as  a  David  foully  mur- 
dered by  an  army  corps  of  Goliaths. 

So  much  for  the  public.  But  what  of  your 
"  lesser  millionaires,"  racked  by  their  epidemic  of 
insomnia  ?  Are  they  equally  fascinated  by  the  rat- 
tle and  the  roar,  and  equally  forgetful  of  morals 
and  balance-sheets?  Experience  proves  that  they 
are  not.  So  long  as  the  performing  Magnate  ob- 
serves the  rules  made  and  provided,  and  leaves 
enough  openings  for  reprisals,  their  attention  is 
concentrated  upon  plans  for  fattening,  to-morrow 
or  next  day,  upon  his  accumulated  winnings.  But 
if  he  presumes  to  play  unfairly,  or  to  put  an  end 
to  the  game  by  laying  about  him  with  a  bludgeon 
— then  his  undoing  comes  swiftly  and  certainly. 
Beginning  as  a  stimulating  antagonist,  he  ends  as 
an  outlaw,  with  a  posse  at  his  heels.  If  he  is  a 
James  J.  Hill,  he  is  relieved  of  his  Illinois  Central 
and  provided  with  a  few  gray  hairs.  If  he  is  a 
Charlie  Morse,  he  is  railroaded  to  the  Tombs. 

I  once  enjoyed  the  acquaintance — to  my  cost, 
alas ! — of  a  Pecuniary  Magnate  who  flourished  in 

Men  vs.  the  Man  199 

a  provincial  city.  The  father  of  this  magnate  left 
him  a  comfortable  fortune,  and  some  more  remote 
ancestor — a  pirate,  perhaps,  or  a  militant  evangel- 
ist— left  him  a  powerful  thirst  for  dominion.  Out- 
wardly he  was  a  sober,  home-loving,  god-fearing 
man  of  strict  chastity  and  Methodist  principles,  but 
within  the  fires  of  ambition  raged.  The  result 
was  one  of  the  most  fascinating  characters  imag- 
inable. He  had  no  vices — and  no  virtues.  Profan- 
ity made  him  shudder,  and  yet  in  matters  of  busi- 
ness he  was  so  appallingly  ruthless  that  he  made 
all  other  persons  shudder.  Still  the  man  was  not 
merely  avaricious,  for  it  was  not  money,  but  power, 
that  he  craved.  He  wanted  to  fix  prices,  juggle 
stocks,  nominate  senators.  He  yearned  for  im- 
measurable might,  not  only  in  business,  but  also  in 
politics  and  society. 

Well,  this  Pecuniary  Magnate  began  by  getting 
control  of  a  commodity  without  which  life  would 
be  unendurable.  The  plain  people  simply  had  to 
have  it,  and  in  a  short  while  they  had  to  buy  it  of 
him.  He  forced  up  the  price  slowly  and  scien- 
tifically. When  competition  arose  he  crushed  it 
out.  When  protests  came  from  the  consumer,  and 
sociologists  and  muck-rakers  began  to  denounce 
him,  he  was  ready  with  mazes  of  statistics  in  his 
defense.  Meanwhile,  he  grew  rich  and  eminent. 
The  plain  people  were  angry  with  him  now  and 
then,  but  taking  one  day  with  another,  the  emotion 
that  he  most  steadily  inspired  in  them  was  that  of 

2OO  Men  vs.  the  Man 

envy.  He  became  a  Prominent  Citizen.  He  was 
turned  to  for  advice  when  public  improvements 
were  planned,  or  a  mayor  was  to  be  elected.  He 
was  himself  pressed  to  accept  high  office.  The 
public,  in  a  word,  licked  his  hand. 

Having  achieved  this  eminence,  he  sought  to 
take  a  step  still  higher.  That  is  to  say,  he  pro- 
posed to  reduce  the  "  lesser  millionaires  "  of  his 
city  to  that  same  vassalage  which  the  masses  had 
accepted  so  amicably.  No  easier  said  than  done. 
He  bought  a  bank,  he  began  promoting  stock  com- 
panies; he  went  into  the  stock  market  and  began 
to  prey  upon  less  astute  operators.  At  the  start 
there  was  much  ill-natured  opposition,  for  the 
financiers  of  this  city  were  an  old-fashioned  lot, 
and  their  methods  and  ideals,  like  their  actual  bank 
accounts,  were  three  or  four  generations  old.  But 
before  long,  the  more  ambitious  came  to  the  conclu- 
sion that  it  would  be  better  to  join  the  rising  Mag- 
nate than  to  fight  him.  He  needed  their  capital 
and  he  let  them  in.  An  inspiring  journey  to  the 
pink  clouds  of  illimitable  opulence  was  an- 
nounced, and  the  airship  was  crowded  to  the 
guards.  Venerable  bankers  hung  upon  the  ropes. 
Brisk  young  stock-brokers  begged  to  be  taken 
along,  if  only  as  ballast.  Small  investors  went  as 

And  then,  with  the  journey  just  begun,  the  gas- 
bag burst  and  the  airship  came  tumbling  down. 
With  what  result?  Did  the  "  lesser  millionaires  " 

Men  vs.  the  Man  201 

blame  it  all  on  fate,  as  the  groundlings  had  done? 
Not  at  all.  They  began  howling  for  revenge  be- 
fore the  first  gust  of  gas  was  out  of  their  lungs, 
and  by  the  time  they  reached  the  ground  they  were 
at  the  luckless  Magnate's  throat.  It  was  all  against 
one.  They  took  his  bank  away  from  him,  they 
forced  some  of  his  other  enterprises  into  bank- 
ruptcy, they  gave  him  his  first  gray  hairs.  He  is 
to-day  but  the  melancholy  shell  of  a  Pecuniary 
Magnate.  No  doubt  he  still  dreams  his  old 
dreams,  and  plans  epoch-making  coups  for  the 
future ;  but  no  one  fears  him  any  more.  He  made 
the  epic  mistake  of  trying  to  enslave  his  own  kind. 
Had  he  confined  his  efforts  to  the  plain  people  he 
might  have  been  a  billionaire  by  now — a  billionaire 
snoozing  comfortably  in  a  Senate  cloak-room,  with 
a  horde  of  press  agents  inventing  a  log-cabin  biog- 
raphy for  him  and  whispering  aloud  that  he 
would  make  an  excellent  President. 

I  confess  that  I  am  not  prepared  to  deduce  a 
hard  and  fast  moral  from  all  this.  Does  the  cos- 
mic process  prove  that  the  millionaire  is  necessary, 
or  beneficent?  I  am  sure  I  don't  know.  But  it 
does  prove,  I  think,  that  he  is  inevitable — at  least, 
at  our  present  stage  of  progress.  He  is  one  of  the 
concrete  facts  which  inevitably  arise  to  visualize 
world-ideas.  He  is  the  incarnation  of  the  dom- 
inant concept  of  mankind  to-day,  the  palpable  sym- 
bol of  the  race's  current  philosophy  of  life.  He  is 
as  authentic,  I  believe,  as  any  other  god,  past  or 

2O2  Men  vs.  the  Man 

future.  Legislation  can  injure  him  no  more  than 
papal  bulls  injured  Luther.  He  will  live  and 
flourish  until  the  ideals  of  humanity  are  changed 
— as  changed  they  must  be,  over  and  over  again, 
so  long  as  nature  knows  no  standing  still,  but  only 
progress  and  retrogression. 

Time  was  when  the  race  of  white  men  had  other 
ideals  and  yielded  to  other  gods.  Once  the  ideal 
was  an  eternity  of  bliss  at  the  right  hand  of  the 
Lord  Jehovah.  At  that  time  the  material  prizes 
of  the  earth  seemed  paltry,  and  men  were  esteemed 
in  proportion  to  the  extent  of  their  renunciation. 
This  was  the  hey-day  of  Christianity,  for  Jesus 
Christ  was  then  a  perfectly  comprehensible  char- 
acter, and  men  actually  tried  to  follow  him.  Some 
left  homes  and  families  and  went  to  live  in  caves 
and  on  pillars.  Others  sought  to  slay  the  Mes- 
siah's enemies,  at  home  and  abroad.  Still  others 
had  to  be  content  with  imitating  his  humility  in 
the  face  of  outrage  and  persecution. 

At  that  time,  the  gods  of  to-day,  had  anyone 
sought  to  preach  them,  would  have  seemed  gro- 
tesquely obscene.  The  Pecuniary  Magnate,  as  we 
know  him  now,  was  then  well-nigh  unthinkable, 
not  only  because  the  laws  of  the  land  scourged  him 
with  dire  penalties  and  forfeitures,  but  also  because 
the  sacred  laws  pronounced  him  anathema  for  all 
eternity.  If  it  were  true  that  a  rich  man  could 
never  hope  to  enter  heaven — and  few  men,  in  that 
day,  doubted  its  truth — what  invitation  could  pos- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  203 

sibly  lurk  in  usury?  Heaven  was  every  man's 
goal,  and  the  man  shut  out  suffered  a  punishment 
which  no  worldly  prosperity,  however  magnificent, 
could  quite  make  him  forget.  The  Jews,  being 
accomplished  sophists,  invented  excuses  for  them- 
selves. They  could  not  escape  the  penalties  of  the 
law  of  the  land,  but  their  rabbis  found  means 
whereby,  despite  their  usury,  they  might  evade  the 
plain  law  of  heaven.  These  quibbles  gave  them 
such  a  great  advantage  over  the  races  surrounding 
them  that  they  managed  to  survive  the  most  earnest 
efforts  to  stamp  them  out.  That  advantage  they 
have  never  lost.  They  are  still  a  bit  more  firm 
than  the  rest  of  us  in  their  grip  upon  reality. 

After  the  age  of  faith,  there  followed  an  age  of 
military  endeavor,  brought  on  by  the  gradual 
crowding  of  western  Europe.  Then  came  the  dis- 
covery of  America,  and  the  submergence  of  the 
military  ideal  in  commercial  ideas.  Columbus 
showed  the  marks  of  all  three  ages.  He  was  at 
once  evangelist,  military  conqueror,  and  gold- 

To-day  we  have  lost  our  old  faith,  and  there 
are  no  more  hemispheres  to  explore.  The  whole 
energy  of  the  race  is  thus  directed  toward  complet- 
ing its  mastery  over  the  habitable  lands  it  pos- 
sesses. It  seeks  to  increase  its  profits  from  the 
soil,  to  improve  its  devices  for  exchanging  com- 
modities, to  organize  and  systematize  the  business 
of  living.  The  effort  is  one  which  produces  Rocke- 

2O4  Men  vs.  the  Man 

fellers,  Havemeyers,  and  Harrimans  as  inevitably 
as  it  produces  airships,  canned  vegetables,  tele- 
phones, and  antitoxins.  These  latter-day  barons 
are  merely  men  who  are  able  to  do  more  efficiently 
than  the  average  man  the  things  that  the  race,  as 
a  race,  is  trying  to  do.  They  are  as  truly  race- 
heroes,  in  twentieth  century  America,  as  Ulysses 
was  a  race-hero  in  military  Greece,  or  Jesus  of 
Nazareth  in  dreaming,  hopeful,  down-trodden 
Judea.  They  visualize  the  aspirations  of  their  fel- 

That  the  commercial  idea  will  rule  mankind 
forever  I  by  no  means  assert.  How  long  it  will 
remain  more  powerful  than  all  other  ideas  I  don't 
know,  and  neither  do  I  know  what  other  idea  will 
take  its  place.  It  is  constantly  conditioned  and 
modified  by  lesser  concepts,  any  or  all  of  which 
may  one  day  conquer  it.  The  military  idea,  for 
example,  often  rises  to  rivalry  with  it.  For  a  few 
brief  weeks  in  the  summer  of  1898,  most  Amer- 
icans envied  Dewey  more  than  Rockefeller,  and 
thought  him  a  more  useful  and  honorable  citizen. 
Even  the  old  religious  idea  of  sacrifice  and  post 
mortem  reward  occasionally  has  its  meager  innings. 
Millionaires,  longing  for  heaven,  disgorge  their 
gold.  Whole  nations,  sunk  into  Christian  bathos, 
pension  their  doddering  inefficients,  and  encourage 
the  nether  swine,  with  orphan  asylum,  hospital,  and 
almshouse,  to  beget  copiously  and  riotously,  to  the 
extreme  limit  of  sub-human  capacity. 

Men  vs.  the  Man  205 

My  own  private  view  (the  child,  I  must  admit, 
of  a  very  ardent  wish)  is  that  the  idea  of  truth- 
seeking  will  one  day  take  the  place  of  the  idea 
of  money-making.  That  is  to  say,  I  believe  that 
the  Huxleys  and  Behrings  of  the  world  will  one 
day  loom  up,  in  the  eye  of  the  race,  as  greater 
heroes  than  the  St.  Pauls  and  Augustines,  the  Will- 
iam Conquerors  and  Alexanders,  the  Rockefellers, 
Cecil  Rhodeses,  Krupps,  and  Morgans.  But  that 
day  is  far  distant.  As  yet  there  is  scarcely  a  sign 
of  its  dawn.  The  name  of  Huxley  is  still  as 
strange,  to  the  common  people,  as  that  of  Duns 
Scotus.  His  influence  upon  their  daily  thought  is 
still  infinitely  remote  and  infinitesimal.  They  still 
pay  numbskulls  to  mount  pulpits  and  preach  down 
at  them  the  dead  fallacies  of  a  primeval  necro- 
mancy. They  still  insist  that  Friday  is  an  unlucky 
day,  that  blasphemy  is  a  crime,  that  the  Book  of 
Revelation  is  authentic.  The  race  is  yet  in  its 
childhood.  Its  yearning  for  the  truth  is  yet  swal- 
lowed up  by  its  yearning  for  a  rock  and  a  refuge. 

Meanwhile  the  commercial  idea  is  doing  its  best. 
It  is,  indeed,  a  necessary  forerunner  of  that  truth 
ideal  I  have  mentioned.  Before  we  may  seek  the 
ultimate  verities  with  any  hope  of  success,  we  must 
first  put  our  house  in  order.  We  must  complete 
our  mastery  of  those  natural  forces  which  will  help 
us,  being  enchained,  just  as  readily  as  they  now 
destroy  us,  being  free.  We  must  solve  the  prob- 
lems of  food-supply,  of  transportation,  of  govern- 

206  Men  vs.  the  Man 

ment.  We  must  so  organize  the  business  of  living 
that  it  will  adapt  itself,  constantly  and  auto- 
matically, to  the  vicissitudes  of  terrestrial  life.  At 
present,  if  I  may  be  permitted  a  metaphor,  the 
body  politic  suffers  from  stiff  knees,  a  bad  stom- 
ach, and  a  disordered  mind.  It  is  our  present  ef- 
fort to  give  it  clean,  red  blood,  flowing  freely — 
clean,  red  blood,  hard  muscles,  an  alert  brain,  and 
a  sound  digestion. 

Would  Socialism  lend  a  hand  in  this  gigantic 
therapy  ?  I  think  not.  It  would  merely  make  the 
cure  more  difficult.  To-day  the  law  of  natural 
selection  is  aiding  the  man-made  laws  of  artificial 
selection.  Under  Socialism  the  unfit  would  sur- 
vive. Under  Socialism  the  efficient  man  would 
have  a  price  upon  his  head. 


H.  L.  M. 



I  have  been  highly  entertained  by  your  vivacious 
trituration  of  the  hapless  Pecuniary  Magnate, 
though  I  was  greatly  surprised  that  you  so  mag- 
nified his  importance  as  to  devote  over  six  thou- 
sand words  to  replying  to  an  argument  that  I  pre- 
sented in  six  hundred. 

But,  before  commenting  briefly  on  your  argu- 
ment on  this  subject,  will  you  permit  me  to  remind 
you  that  your  promise  in  your  first  letter  "  to  draw, 
bit  by  bit,  once  more,"  your  "  ideal  picture " 
(of  future  society)  is  still  unfulfilled?  It  may  be 
that  I  am  obtuse,  but  certainly  I  have  no  more 
definite  idea  of  your  ideal  than  I  had  before  this 
correspondence  began.  I  hope  that  you  will  de- 
vote your  next  letter  to  enlightening  me  on  this 

I  will  anticipate  your  reply  that  I  have  given 
you  no  definite  picture  of  my  own  ideal,  by  re- 
minding you  that  the  Socialist  ideal  has  been  so 
frequently  sketched  by  master  hands  that  I  have 
felt  it  unnecessary  and  a  waste  of  space  once  again 
to  draw  it  here.  But,  while  it  is  absurd  to  attempt 
to  give  a  detailed  description  of  a  future  stage  of 


2o8  Men  vs.  the  Man 

social  evolution,  and,  while  no  ideal  is  to  be  consid- 
ered ultimate  or  final,  but  rather  as  the  starting 
point  for  new  and  indefinite  progress,  it  is  still 
entirely  reasonable  for  the  opponents  of  Socialism 
to  demand  some  sort  of  concrete  picture  of  the  sort 
of  society  Socialists  expect  to  see  succeed  Capital- 
ism. The  picture  drawn  by  William  Morris  in 
"  News  from  Nowhere  "  seems  to  me  so  infinitely 
preferable  in  every  way  to  the  conditions  surround- 
ing us,  that  I,  for  one,  would  be  delighted  to  see  it 
realized  to-morrow. 

But,  let  me  repeat,  this  is  not  my  ultimate  ideal, 
for  I  have  no  ultimate  ideal,  as  I  do  not  expect 
social  evolution  to  come  to  a  standstill  till  this  old 
world  shall  be,  in  the  words  of  Tennyson,  "  as  dead 
as  yon  dead  earth,  the  moon." 

Let  me  guard  against  a  probable  misapprehen- 
sion. By  reading  "  News  from  Nowhere  "  you 
might  not  unnaturally  get  the  idea  that  in  my  ideal 
society  but  little  use  would  be  made  of  machinery. 
On  the  contrary,  as  I  have  said  elsewhere,  I  believe 
the  Machine  Age  to  be  still  in  its  infancy.  I  be- 
lieve that  after  the  Social  Revolution  machinery 
will  be  so  developed  that  practically  all  the  un- 
attractive and  toilsome  work  of  the  world  will  be 
'done  by  machinery,  and  that  the  work  that  will  be 
left  for  manual  labor  will  all  come  under  the 
category  of  Art,  using  that  word  in  a  broad  and 
true  sense. 

J  believe  that  this  was  also  not  very  far  from 

Men  vs.  the  Man  209 

the  expectation  of  William  Morris,  for,  writing 
of  machinery  in  "Signs  of  Change,"  he  said: 

"  In  a  true  society  these  miracles  of  ingenuity 
would  be  for  the  first  time  used  for  minimizing 
the  amount  of  time  spent  in  unattractive  labor, 
which  by  their  means  might  be  so  reduced  as  to 
be  but  a  very  light  burden  on  each  individual.  All 
the  more  as  these  machines  would  most  certainly 
be  very  much  improved  when  it  was  no  longer  a 
question  as  to  whether  their  improvement  would 
4  pay  '  the  individual,  but  rather  whether  it  would 
benefit  the  community." 

So  much  for  my  ideal;  will  you  give  me  an 
equally  definite  idea  of  your  own? 

Now,  to  return  to  the  Pecuniary  Magnate,  if  I 
have  analyzed  your  somewhat  rambling  (pardon 
me)  remarks  correctly,  they  amount  in  substance  to 
this.  You  do  not  deny  that  sooner  or  later  he  is 
bound  to  appear;  neither  do  you  dispute  the 
economic  effects  that  Prof.  Veblen  and  I  have 
ascribed  to  him.  But  you  do  say,  first,  if  his 
career  proves  too  devastating,  assassination  will 
remove  him.  This  does  not  meet  the  question, 
for  his  successor  will  have  equal  power. 

Secondly,  and  somewhat  inconsistently,  you  say 
he  does  not  alarm  the  people,  but  that  on  the  con- 
trary they  admire  and  envy  him,  and  are  conse- 
quently unlikely  to  interfere  with  him.  If  this 
be  true,  and  I  will  not  dispute  it  here,  he  will  have 
precisely  the  annihilating  effects  upon  the  middle 

2io  Men  vs.  the  Man 

class  (the  progenitors  of  your  Supermen)  that  I 

Thirdly,  you  say  that  while  the  masses  admire 
him  and  will  not  impede  his  mad  career,  the  lesser 
millionaires  will  turn  and  rend  him.  Did  the 
lesser  millionaires  enjoy  a  cannibal  orgy  with 
the  late  Mr.  Rogers  of  Standard  Oil  and  the  late 
Mr.  Harriman  of  the  Pacific  Roads  as  victims? 
Ask  Mr.  Lawson  of  Boston  and  Mr.  Fish  of  New 

You  imply  that  Mr.  James  J.  Hill  once  fell  a 
victim  to  the  direful  wrath  of  the  lesser  million- 
aires. I  wish  you  had  been  more  explicit.  The 
obituary  notices  of  Mr.  Harriman  led  me  to  be- 
lieve that  it  was  that  prince  of  Pecuniary  Mag- 
nates, and  not  the  small-fry  millionaires,  who  oc- 
casionally defeated  the  able  plans  of  Mr.  Hill.  But 
I  stand  open  to  correction  on  this  point. 

You  also  say  that  Mr.  Rockefeller's  activities 
have  seldom  caused  insomnia  among  investors. 
Permit  me  to  commend  to  you  the  history  of 
Amalgamated  Copper. 

Finally,  you  say  the  Pecuniary  Magnates  are 
"  truly  race-heroes  in  twentieth  century  America. 
They  visualize  the  aspirations  of  their  fellow-men. 
That  the  commercial  idea  will  rule  mankind  for- 
ever I  by  no  means  assert.  How  long  it  will  re- 
main more  powerful  than  all  other  ideas  I  don't 
know,  and  neither  do  I  know  what  other  idea  will 
take  its  place." 

Men  vs.  the  Man  211 

Here,  we  Socialists  have  the  advantage  of  you, 
for  we  do  know,  in  the  language  of  Friedrich 
Nietzsche,  "  how  ideals  are  manufactured  on 
earth."  We  do  know  that  human  ideals  are  deter- 
mined by  the  modes  of  production  and  exchange; 
and,  therefore,  we  know  that  the  commercial  ideal 
of  boundless  wealth  will  persist  just  as  long  as 
the  means  of  production  and  distribution  remain 
private  property,  and  we  do  know  that  the  Social 
Revolution,  now  close  at  hand,  which  will  trans- 
form these  into  common  or  collective  property  will 
usher  in  the  new  and  glorious  ideal  of  social 
service — an  ideal  that  includes  your  ideal  of 
"  truth-seeking,"  just  as  it  includes  the  Hellenic 
ideal  of  beauty  and  the  Dionysian  ideal  of  joy. 

Only  by  becoming  a  soldier  in  the  comrade- 
hosts,  can  you  hasten  the  realization  of  your  own 
ideal.  It  is  because  you  feel  the  imperious 
strength  of  this  inward  urge  toward  Socialism  that 
you  argue  so  desperately  against  it.  I  rejoice  at 
this  unconscious  testimony  to  the  resistless  might  of 
the  lure  of  Socialism. 

In  attempting  to  cure  what  you  conceive  to  be 
my  boundless  faith  in  the  omnipotence  of  legisla- 
tion you  tell  me  that  "  legislation  is  always  an  ef- 
fect rather  than  a  cause  "  and  that  "  it  is  inevitably 
a  good  distance  behind  the  event."  You  are  mak- 
ing progress,  my  dear  Mencken,  and  I  venture  to 
hope  that  it  will  not  be  long  before  you  are  able 
to  comprehend  the  meaning  of  Marx's  pregnant 

212  Men  vs.  the  Man 

statement  that  "  the  economic  structure  of  society 
is  the  real  foundation,  on  which  rise  legal  and 
political  superstructures  and  to  which  correspond 
definite  forms  of  social  consciousness."  But,  let 
me  remind  you  that  every  effect  is  also  a  cause,  and 
that  while  the  roots  of  legislation  are  to  be  delved 
for  in  the  economic  soil,  legislation  also  exercises 
a  potent  influence  upon  the  course  of  economic  de- 

We  Socialists  do  not  put  our  whole  faith  in 
legislation.  Our  eggs  are  not  all  in  one  basket. 
We  want  the  Co-operative  Commonwealth,  and  we 
want  it  soon,  and  we  do  not  scorn  or  disdain  any 
weapon  that  may  be  of  service  in  the  struggle  to  at- 
tain our  goal.  We  regard  the  ballot  as  one  of  our 
most  important  weapons ;  we  even  think  it  might  be 
almost  our  sole  weapon  if  our  adversaries  would 
play  the  game  of  political  democracy  fairly.  But 
we  are  not  so  naive  as  to  expect  this.  Accordingly 
we  shall  use  every  weapon  that  the  evolution  of  the 
struggle  develops.  The  recent  history  of  Russia, 
Sweden,  and  the  Latin  countries  of  Europe  has 
shown  that  the  strike,  in  its  later  forms,  is  capable 
of  rivaling,  if  not  surpassing,  the  ballot  as  a  means 
of  Social  Revolution.  We  shall  certainly  use  both 
ballot  and  strike,  and  I  have  no  doubt  that  other 
and  equally  powerful  weapons  will  be  evolved  in 
the  future. 

But  the  ballot  has  this  distinct  advantage:  by 
using  it  we  demonstrate  our  strength,  and  the 

Men  vs.  the  Man  213 

mightier  the  power  we  show  at  the  ballot-box,  the 
less  likely  are  our  opponents  to  force  us  to  make 
use  of  our  auxiliary  methods.  So  that  it  is  true 
that  we  do  lay  great  stress  upon  the  ballot  as  a 
means  to  Social  Revolution.  But  we  are  quite 
sure  that  after  the  Social  Revolution  there  will  be 
little  room  or  need  for  legislation  in  the  sense  in 
which  that  term  is  now  used. 

In  the  struggle  for  Socialism,  as  in  all  other 
struggles,  the  victory  must  go  to  the  stronger  of 
the  contesting  parties.  From  this  point  of  view 
both  the  ballot  and  the  strike  are  crude  ther- 
mometers for  registering  our  rising  strength. 
When  either  of  these  thermometers  shows  that  we 
possess  the  superior  social  force,  there  will  be  need, 
not  so  much  for  legislation,  as  for  a  parley  to  ar- 
range the  terms  of  surrender  of  the  Capitalist 

For,  blink  it,  as  we  Americans  try  to,  this 
struggle  in  which  we  are  engaged  is  and  must  re- 
main a  class-struggle  until  the  Social  Revolution 
wipes  out  class  antagonisms  forever. 

The  greatest  contribution  that  America  has  made 
to  anthropology  and  sociology  was  made  by  the 
late  Lewis  H.  Morgan  of  Rochester,  New  York. 
Unfortunately,  the  biography  of  this  transcendent 
scientific  genius  is  yet  unwritten.  His  more  im- 
portant works  were  published  over  thirty  years  ago 
by  Henry  Holt  and  Company.  Chiefest  among 
them  stands  out  "  Ancient  Society."  In  this  monu- 

214  Men  vs.  the  Man 

mental  work  Morgan  through  his  study  of  the  gens 
and  the  marriage  systems  of  the  Iroquois  Indians 
and  the  Kanakas  of  Hawaii  for  the  first  time  en- 
abled us  to  understand  the  social  organization  of 
the  Greeks  of  Homeric  and  pre-Homeric  times. 

He  broadly  sketched  the  development  of  human 
institutions  through  three  stages  of  savagery  and 
three  stages  of  barbarism  up  to  civilization,  and 
thus  enabled  us  to  forecast  the  future.  How  did 
he  differentiate  the  divers  stages  of  advance?  By 
the  tools  that  men  had  invented  and  employed, 
and  the  animals  they  had  domesticated  and  made 
subservient  to  human  ends.  He  demonstrated  that 
these  were  the  most  important  determining  factors 
of  all  social  institutions.  Man  makes  tools,  and 
the  sort  of  tools  that  man  has  made  determines 
what  sort  of  a  society  man  shall  live  in.  Since 
this  great  discovery  of  Morgan's  it  is  possible  for 
us  when  we  know  the  tools  in  use  at  any  given  era, 
to  draw  in  broad  outline  the  whole  cultural  scheme 
of  life  of  that  era,  just  as  Owen  could  reconstruct 
the  skeleton  of  an  extinct  species  from  a  single 
fossil  bone. 

Given  small  hand  tools  and  no  motor  power,  and 
there  inevitably  result  handicraft  production,  an- 
thropomorphic religion,  and  the  natural  rights 
philosophy  of  seventeenth  century  England  and 
eighteenth  century  France. 

When  the  technique  of  production  reaches  its 
present  titanic  development,  the  very  nature  of  the 

Men  vs.  the  Man  215 

tools  (huge  plants  that  can  only  be  run  by  vast 
armies  of  co-operating  men  and  women)  makes 
the  social  ownership  of  those  plants  necessary  and 
inevitable.  "  Private  property  in  the  instruments 
of  production,"  says  Kautsky,  "  has  its  roots  in 
small  production.  Individual  production  makes 
individual  ownership  necessary.  Large  produc- 
tion on  the  contrary  denotes  co-operative,  social 
production.  In  large  production  each  individual 
does  not  work  alone,  but  a  large  number  of  work- 
ers, a  whole  commonwealth,  work  together  to  pro- 
duce a  whole.  Accordingly,  the  modern  instru- 
ments of  production  are  extensive  and  gigantic. 
With  them  it  is  wholly  impossible  that  every  single 
worker  should  own  his  own  instruments  of  pro- 
duction. Once  the  present  stage  is  reached  by 
large  production,  it  admits  but  of  two  systems  of 
ownership : 

"  First,  private  ownership  by  the  individual  in 
the  instruments  of  production  used  by  co-opera- 
tive labor;  that  means  the  existing  system  of  cap- 
italist production,  with  its  train  of  misery  and  ex- 
ploitation as  the  portion  of  the  workers,  idleness 
and  excessive  abundance  as  the  portion  of  the  cap- 
italist; and 

"  Second,  ownership  by  the  workers  in  the  com- 
mon instruments  of  production;  that  means  a  co- 
operative system  of  production,  and  the  extinction 
of  the  exploitation  of  the  workers,  who  become 
masters  of  their  own  products,  and  who  themselves 

216  Men  vs.  the  Man 

appropriate  the  surplus  of  which,  under  our  sys- 
tem, they  are  deprived  by  the  capitalists. 

"  To  substitute  common  for  private  ownership 
in  the  means  of  production,  this  it  is  that  the 
economic  development  is  urging  upon  us  with  ever 
increasing  force." 

This  substitution,  my  dear  Mencken,  is  inevi- 
table, and  it  cannot  be  much  longer  deferred.  But, 
as  Kautsky  says  elsewhere,  "  when  the  Socialist  de- 
clares the  abolition  of  private  property  in  the  in- 
struments of  production  to  be  unavoidable,  he  does 
not  mean  that  some  fine  morning,  without  their 
helping  themselves,  the  exploited  classes  will  find 
the  ravens  feeding  them.  The  Socialist  considers 
the  breakdown  of  the  present  social  system  to  be 
unavoidable,  because  he  knows  that  the  economic 
evolution  inevitably  brings  on  those  conditions 
that  will  compel  the  exploited  classes  to  rise  against 
this  system  of  private  ownership;  that  this  system 
multiplies  the  number  and  the  strength  of  the  ex- 
ploited, and  diminishes  the  number  and  strength  of 
the  exploiting  classes,  both  of  whom  are  still  ad- 
hering to  it;  and  that  it  will  finally  lead  to  such 
unbearable  conditions  for  the  masses  of  the  pop- 
ulation that  they  will  have  no  alternative  but 
either  to  go  down  in  silence,  or  to  overthrow  that 
system  of  property." 

This  is  what  Marx  and  Engels  meant  when 
they  wrote  in  the  Communist  Manifesto,  "  What 
the  bourgeoisie  therefore  produces,  above  all,  are 

Men  vs.  the  Man  217 

its  own  grave-diggers.  Its  fall  and  the  victory  of 
the  proletariat  are  equally  inevitable." 

Our  present  ethics  and  our  present  jurisprudence 
are  both  legacies  from  the  era  of  handicraft.  Un- 
der handicraft  it  seemed  wholly  right  and  natural 
that  the  laborer  who  owned  his  own  tools  and 
worked  with  his  own  hands  should  own  absolutely 
his  own  product.  Property  rested,  as  it  were,  on 
the  right  of  creation.  But  to-day  the  great  mass 
of  property  has  not  been  created  by  its  owners,  but 
by  the  labor  of  others.  But  we  still  adhere  to  the 
old  ethics  and  jurisprudence  begotten  by  handi- 
craft. "  Political  economy,"  said  Marx,  "  con- 
fuses on  principle  two  very  different  kinds  of  pri- 
vate property,  of  which  one  rests  on  the  producer's 
own  labor,  the  other  on  the  employment  of  the 
labor  of  others.  It  forgets  that  the  latter  not  only 
is  the  direct  antithesis  of  the  former,  but  absolutely 
grows  on  its  tomb  only." 

The  economic  history  of  the  seventeenth, 
eighteenth,  and  nineteenth  centuries  is  simply  the 
story  of  the  divorce  of  the  peasant  from  the 
land  and  the  artisan  from  his  tools.  This  di- 
vorce was  accomplished  with  much  violence  and 
suffering,  but  it  was  absolutely  necessary  for  the 
development  of  the  highly  productive  powers  of 
modern  industry.  When  this  process  neared  com- 
pletion, there  began  the  divorce  of  the  middle 
class  capitalist  from  his  capital — a  process  that 
is  still  rapidly  proceeding.  "  This  expropria- 

2i 8  Men  vs.  the  Man 

tion,"  Marx  tells  us  in  "  Capital,"  "  is  accom- 
plished by  the  action  of  the  immanent  laws  of  cap- 
italistic production  itself,  by  the  centralization  of 
capital.  One  capitalist  always  kills  many."  I 
have  dwelt  so  often  upon  this  tendency  of  our  mod- 
ern commercial  life,  and  all  American  business  men 
are  so  painfully  familiar  with  it,  that  no  more  need 
be  said  of  it  here. 

Here  in  America  these  two  processes — the  di- 
vorce of  the  worker  from  the  means  of  produc- 
tion and  the  divorce  of  the  smaller  capitalists  from 
their  capital — have  proceeded  so  far  that  the 
further  development  of  our  productive  powers  is 
seriously  impeded.  The  limited  purchasing  power 
of  the  proletarians  who  have  been  freed  from  their 
petty  property  compels  the  pecuniary  magnates  who 
control  our  great  industrial  trusts  to  curtail  produc- 
tion, while  the  fear  of  the  crushing  competition  of 
the  trusts  prevents  our  lesser  capitalists  from  ven- 
turing upon  new  productive  enterprises.  We  are 
indeed  hard  up  against  the  day  of  judgment.  We 
have  reached  here  in  America  to-day  the  condition 
that  Marx  predicted  over  forty  years  ago  in  these 
memorable  words :  "  The  monopoly  of  capital  be- 
comes a  fetter  upon  the  mode  of  production, 
which  has  sprung  up  and  flourished  along  with  it, 
and  under  it.  Centralization  of  the  means  of 
production  and  socialization  of  labor  at  last  reach 
a  point  where  they  become  incompatible  with  their 
capitalist  integument.  This  integument  is  burst 

Men  vs.  the  Man  219 

asunder.     The  knell  of  capitalist  private  property 
sounds.     The  expropriators  are  expropriated. 

"  The  transformation  of  scattered  private  prop- 
erty, arising  from  individual  labor,  into  capitalist 
private  property  is,  naturally,  a  process  incom- 
parably more  protracted,  violent,  and  difficult  than 
the  transformation  of  capitalistic  private  property, 
already  practically  resting  on  socialized  production, 
into  socialized  property.  In  the  former  case,  we  had 
the  expropriation  of  the  mass  of  the  people  by  a 
few  usurpers;  in  the  latter,  we  have  the  expropria- 
tion of  a  few  usurpers  by  the  mass  of  the  people." 

But  besides  showing  us  the  tremendous  im- 
portance of  the  nature  of  man's  tools,  Lewis  H. 
Morgan,  in  "  Ancient  Society,"  also  shed  a  flood  of 
light  on  the  nature  of  political  government.  The 
two  distinguishing  marks  of  political  government, 
or  the  State,  as  we  moderns  conceive  it,  are,  first, 
the  power  to  levy  and  collect  taxes,  and,  second, 
the  power  to  make  and  enforce  laws.  Morgan 
showed  that  among  the  Iroquois  Indians  and  other 
primitive  societies  in  which  the  institution  of  pri- 
vate property  was  not  developed,  while  there  was 
a  fairly  elaborate  social  organization,  the  two  dis- 
tinguishing marks  of  the  modern  State  were  ut- 
terly lacking.  The  public  power  of  coercion  was 
only  developed  after  the  powers  of  production  were 
so  developed  as  to  enable  the  worker  to  produce 
more  than  his  own  subsistence  and  thus  to  make 

220  Men  vs.  the  Man 

it  more  expedient  to  enslave  the  prisoners  of  war 
than  to  kill  or  eat  them,  and  after  the  breeding  on 
a  large  scale  of  domestic  animals  had  given  rise  to 
large  private  property  in  flocks  and  herds. 

Political  government  has  its  genesis  in  the  divi- 
sion of  society  into  privileged  classes  and  non- 
privileged  classes.  As  Deville  puts  it,  "  for  the 
security  of  a  social  order  involving  the  division  of 
the  population  into  classes,  a  public  power  cal- 
culated to  compel  the  respect  of  the  non-privileged 
is  necessary."  Political  government,  in  the  mod- 
ern sense,  does  not  exist  so  long  as  there  are  no 
classes  in  society;  it  makes  its  appearance  in  a 
more  or  less  developed  form  with  the  emergence  of 
classes  and  the  antagonisms  they  involve.  The 
product  of  a  definite  social  order,  it  will  last  as 
long  as  the  conditions  that  have  rendered  it  in- 

"  When,  in  the  course  of  development,"  says  the 
Communist  Manifesto,  "  class  distinctions  have 
disappeared,  and  all  production  has  been  concen- 
trated in  the  hands  of  a  vast  association  of  the 
whole  nation,  the  public  power  will  lose  its  political 
character.  Political  power,  properly  so  called,  is 
merely  the  organized  power  of  one  class  for  op- 
pressing another.  If  the  proletariat  during  its 
contest  with  the  bourgeoisie  is  compelled,  by  the 
force  of  circumstances,  to  organize  itself  as  a  class, 
if,  by  means  of  a  revolution,  it  makes  itself  the 
ruling  class,  and,  as  such,  sweeps  away  by  force 

Men  vs.  the  Man  221 

the  old  conditions  of  production,  then  it  will,  along 
with  these  conditions,  have  swept  away  the  condi- 
tions for  the  existence  of  class  antagonisms,  and 
of  classes  generally,  and  will  thereby  have  abol- 
ished its  own  supremacy  as  a  class. 

"  In  place  of  the  old  bourgeois  society,  with  its 
classes  and  class  antagonisms,  we  shall  have  an  as- 
sociation, in  which  the  free  development  of  each 
is  the  condition  for  the  free  development  of  all." 

Since  political  government  is  in  essence  an  organ 
of  conservation  whose  chief  function  has  been  to 
defend  economic  privilege,  it  follows  that  we  can- 
not destroy  economic  privilege  without  first  cap- 
turing the  powers  of  political  government.  Here 
you  have  the  key  to  the  political  tactics  of  the  So- 
cialist movement.  We  despise  no  reform  that 
makes  more  tolerable  the  life-conditions  of  the 
masses,  but  we  know  also  that  we  cannot  remove 
the  source  of  poverty  and  misery — private  owner- 
ship of  tools  and  machinery — so  long  as  we  leave 
the  powers  of  political  government  in  the  control 
of  the  propertied  classes.  Hence,  the  immediate 
goal  of  the  Socialist  party  in  every  country  is  the 
conquest  of  political  power. 

We  aim  to  capture  political  government  that  we 
may  compel  political  government  to  commit  sui- 
cide. As  I  have  written  elsewhere,  "  the  state  is 
destined,  when  it  becomes  the  state  of  the  work- 
ing-class, to  remove  its  own  foundation — economic 
inequality — and  thus,  to  commit  suicide."  In  the 

222  Men  vs.  the  Man 

words  of  Friedrich  Engels,  "  the  government  of 
persons  will  be  replaced  by  the  administration  of 

I  hope  I  have  now  made  it  clear  that  we  urge 
the  workers  to  vote  for  Debs,  not  for  the  sake  of 
such  crumbs  of  reform  as  we  may  attain  by  im- 
mediate legislation  (though  I  repeat  we  do  not 
despise  or  spurn  such  reforms),  but  because  we 
know  the  powers  of  government  in  the  hands  of 
our  opponents  constitute  an  insurmountable  bar- 
rier between  us  and  our  goal. 

But,  I  repeat,  the  fundamental  difference  be- 
tween your  position  and  mine  is  ethical  rather  than 
economic.  You  hold  that  the  individual  can  reach 
a  high  development  and  happiness  by  making  high 
individual  development  and  happiness  his  conscious 
goals.  I  hold  that  the  individual  man  can  only 
reach  a  high  and  worthy,  a  noble,  development, 
not  by  conscious  self-sacrifice  (which  I  agree  with 
you  and  Nietzsche  is  morbid  and  pathological), 
but  by  such  whole-souled  devotion  to  the  welfare 
of  others  as  leads  to  forgetfulness  of  one's  own 

Socialist  ethics,  as  I  conceive  them,  are  well  ex- 
pressed in  what  W.  D.  Howells  tells  us  was  the 
lesson  Ibsen  taught  in  "  Little  Eyolf  " :  "  that  you 
must  not  and  you  cannot  be  happy  except  through 
the  welfare  of  others,  and  that  to  seek  your  bliss 
outside  of  this  is  to  sin  against  reason  and  right- 
eousness both." 

Men  vs.  the  Man  223 

I  hold  that,  even  if  the  goal  of  Socialism  should 
prove  an  iridescent  dream,  it  has  already  enriched 
the  world  immeasurably  by  the  nobility  of  char- 
acter it  has  so  abundantly  brought  forth.  It  is 
because  it  leads  individuals  to  forget  themselves  in 
their  complete  devotion  to  a  great  cause  and  a 
noble  ideal,  that  it  is  to-day  the  most  vital  regen- 
erating religious  force  in  the  world. 

Socialism  will  abolish  poverty  and  satiety,  and 
make  joyousness  the  dominant  note  of  humanity; 
it  will  make  it  impossible  for  self-interest  to  clash 
with  social  welfare,  and  will  thus  make  the  Golden 
Rule  work  universally  and  automatically.  "  May 
we  not  expect,"  asks  Kautsky,  "  that  under  such 
conditions  a  new  type  of  mankind  will  arise  which 
will  be  far  superior  to  the  highest  type  which  cul- 
ture has  hitherto  created?  An  Over-man  (Ueber- 
mensch),  if  you  will,  not  as  an  exception  but  as  a 
rule,  an  Over-man  compared  with  his  predecessors, 
but  not  as  opposed  to  his  comrades,  a  noble  man 
who  seeks  his  satisfaction  not  by  being  great  among 
crippled  dwarfs,  but  great  among  the  great,  happy 
among  the  happy — who  does  not  draw  his  feeling 
of  strength  from  the  fact  that  he  raises  himself 
upon  the  bodies  of  the  down-trodden,  but  because 
a  union  with  his  fellow-workers  gives  him  courage 
to  dare  the  attainment  of  the  highest  tasks." 

Awaiting  with  serene  confidence  the  soon-com- 
ing day  when  I  can  sign  myself  "  your  comrade," 
Yours  as  ever,  LA  MONTE. 



In  the  matter  of  the  Pecuniary  Magnate  I  am 
well  content  to  leave  you  in  possession  of  the  field. 
This  is  not  because  I  think  you  have  disposed  of 
the  few  modest  suggestions  I  ventured  to  put  forth 
in  my  last  letter,  but  because  I  see  no  hope  of 
rescuing  you  from  your  errors  by  the  ordinary 
processes  of  disputation.  You  Socialists,  when  you 
come  to  discuss  the  magnates,  surplus  values,  bour- 
geoisie, and  other  fantastic  fowl  in  your  aviary  of 
horrors,  too  often  borrow  a  dialectic  device  from 
your  blood  brothers,  the  Christian  Scientists.  That 
is  to  say,  you  insist  upon  using  private  brands  of 
epistemology  and  logic,  unknown  and  incompre- 
hensible to  mere  human  beings,  in  the  conduct  of 
your  philosophical  feuds.  Point  out  to  a  Christian 
Scientist  that  the  influence  of  the  mind  upon  the 
liver  is  infinitely  less  powerful  than  the  influence 
of  the  liver  upon  the  mind,  and  he  will  bowl  you 
over  with  the  staggering  answer  that  the  liver  is  a 
mere  delusion  of  the  mind.  It  seems  to  me  en- 
tirely impossible  for  an  everyday  disputant,  handi- 
capped by  a  reverence  for  Aristotle,  to  controvert, 


Men  vs.  the  Man  225 

or  even  to  denounce  such  a  theory.  How  are  you 
going  to  lay  hold  of  it?  How  are  you  going  to 
measure  or  weigh  it?  It  wipes  out  the  whole  uni- 
verse, as  you  know  that  universe,  and  suspends  all 
the  laws  of  evidence,  logic,  and  causation.  It 
leaves  you,  in  a  word,  gasping  in  an  empty  void. 
The  only  thing  to  do  is  to  steal  away  in  silence. 

The  same  fate,  I  fear,  sometimes  overtakes  the 
controversialist  who  engages  a  Socialist  in  debate. 
My  own  case  offers  sorry  proof  of  it.  In  my  last 
letter,  for  instance,  I  pointed  out  that  the  Pecuniary 
Magnate's  capacity  for  evil,  while  boundless  in 
theory,  would  be  ever  limited  in  practice,  for  not 
even  class  legislation  could  afford  him  absolute 
safety  from  some  groaning  hero's  bullet.  This 
argument,  I  flattered  myself,  would  give  you  pause, 
but  I  was  wrong.  In  the  single  paragraph  that 
you  take  to  answer  it,  you  wipe  it  completely  from 
the  record,  just  as  a  Christian  Scientist,  with  one 
shattering  denial,  wipes  out  the  whole  science  of 
physiology.  My  argument,  you  maintain,  is  vain 
and  futile,  for  it  is  not  an  argument  at  all.  As- 
sassination a  remedy?  Pooh!  What's  the  use? 
As  soon  as  one  Magnate  is  assassinated,  "  his  suc- 
cessor will  have  equal  power." 

Well,  let  us  look  into  this  a  bit.  Let  us  suppose 
a  horde  of  potential  Magnates,  all  eager  to  feast 
upon  the  public.  Many  of  them  have  the  will  and 
many  of  them  have  the  means,  but  the  combination 
of  will  and  means  is  comparatively  rare.  But  by 

226  Men  vs.  the  Man 

and  by,  one  of  them  with  the  will,  by  dint  of  toil- 
some effort,  achieves  the  means  also,  and  in  his  face 
we  at  once  behold  the  lineaments  of  the  true  Veb- 
lenian  monster.  He  loses  no  time;  he  is  at  the 
throat  of  the  great  masses  instanter.  A  period  of 
barbarous  pillage  ensues.  The  price  of  beer  goes 
up  to  twenty-five  cents  a  can.  The  unemployed 
stalk  the  earth  in  tragic  misery.  Many  of  them, 
facing  despair,  are  forced  to  accept  work  from 
their  conqueror.  Others,  more  idealistic,  starve. 
Desperate  men  murder  and  rob.  Children  are 
eaten.  Socialism  grows  popular.  .  .  .  One  day 
a  bomb  explodes  beneath  the  private  train  of  the 
Nameless  One,  and  he  rolls  a  thousand  feet  down 
the  Alleghany  Mountains.  A  month  after  his 
funeral,  his  wealth  is  divided  into  two  parts.  One 
swells  the  endowment  of  a  Baptist  u  university  "  in 
Arkansas,  and  the  other  goes  to  his  son — a  young 
man  whose  wildest  dream  is  to  be  the  lover  of  a 
prima  donna.  Thus  passeth  the  means.  The  will 
is  already  moldering  in  its  grave. 

But  another  Magnate  springs  into  the  saddle. 
He  is  even  worse  than  the  first  one.  He  rowels 
the  proletariat  mercilessly.  The  cries  of  starving 
children  are  music  to  his  ears.  He  delights  in 
human  misery,  in  unmentionable  horrors,  in  un- 
namable  suffering.  .  .  .  One  day  his  fore- 
ordained bullet  reaches  him,  and  he  troubles  no 

A  third!     He  has  "equal  power."   ...   So 

Men  vs.  the  Man  227 

has  the  bullet  that  finds  him.  ...  A  fourth !  A 
fifth!  A  one-hundredth!  A  five-hundredth! 
.  .  .  We  come  to  large  numbers.  Four  hun- 
dred million  Magnates  have  been  slain.  The  earth 
is  littered  with  their  carcasses.  By  their  wills  they 
have  established  5,000,000  Baptist  "  universities," 
sent  out  50,000,000  missionaries  to  the  heathen, 
and  founded  the  fortunes  of  a  whole  race  of  show 
girls,  shyster  lawyers,  head  waiters,  and  alienists. 
What  a  fate !  What  a  taste  of  ashes  in  the  mouth ! 
And  yet  the  four-hundred-million-and-first  Mag- 
nate, by  your  astonishing  theory  of  infinite  series, 
is  ready  and  willing  to  face  the  same  fate  and 
taste  the  same  ashes.  That  monster  who  at  the 
moment  you  introduced  him  was  rare  to  the  point 
of  actual  non-existence,  is  now  as  common  as 
heresy.  Once  crafty  and  selfish  beyond  expression, 
he  is  now  willing  to  face  certain  death  for  an  idea. 
Frankly,  my  dear  La  Monte,  I  do  not  think 
that  you  have  disposed  of  my  contention.  Unless 
I  am  vastly  mistaken,  a  very  real  fear  of  death 
(made  real  by  practical  examples)  is  apt  to  shake 
the  determination  of  even  the  most  determined 
man.  And  unless  I  am  mistaken  again,  a  public 
execution,  whether  official  or  unofficial,  is  certain 
to  end  the  activity  of  even  the  most  active,  and  to 
make  his  particular  form  of  activity  lose  its  lure 
for  others.  The  case  of  General  Trepoff  may  oc- 
cur to  you.  General  Trepoff,  true  enough,  has  a 
successor  in  the  office  of  Chief  of  the  Russian 

228  Men  vs.  the  Man 

Secret  Police,  but  I  fancy  that  even  the  most  rabid 
Russian  patriot  will  admit  that  the  administration 
of  his  successor,  while  still  leaving  much  to  be  de- 
sired, is  measurably  less  murderous  than  that  of 
Trepoff  himself.  If  you  maintain,  in  answer,  that 
there  is  but  one  Chief  of  the  Secret  Police  in 
Russia,  while  the  United  States  offers  pasturage 
for  a  large  number  of  Pecuniary  Magnates,  of 
varying  ambitions  and  degrees  of  evil,  I  need  only 
remind  you  that  in  the  cemetery  of  Picpus  in  Paris 
you  will  find  the  headless  skeletons  of  1,306  French 
nobles  of  the  Terror  year,  who  were  also  of  vary- 
ing ambitions  and  degrees  of  evil.  Bullets  are 
cheap  to-day.  One  or  ten  thousand — what  are 
the  odds? 

And  yet  the  Terror  did  not  turn  France  into 
Paradise.  Of  course  not!  No  more  would  So- 
cialism. The  French  peasants  got  rid  of  their 
feudal  masters,  and  it  was  good  riddance,  but  new 
masters  appeared  next  day.  The  name  of  the 
thing  was  changed,  but  the  thing  itself  remained. 
The  same  phenomenon  would  be  observed  if  there 
were  a  wholesale  slaughter  of  millionaires  in  the 
United  States  to-morrow,  followed  by  a  grand  in- 
auguration of  Socialism.  In  that  case,  my  dear 
La  Monte,  you  yourself  would  become  a  Magnate. 
You  edit  a  Socialist  paper  to-day  and  write  Socialist 
books,  and  the  high  privates  and  corporals  of  the 
Socialist  army  quite  naturally  attach  a  good  deal 
of  value  to  your  technical  skill  and  judgment  as 

Men  vs.  the  Man  229 

a  virtuoso  and  connoisseur  of  economic  disgust. 
In  the  Socialist  state  they  would  still  look  to  you 
for  guidance,  for  they  would  still  be  common 
men  and  as  such  still  in  need  of  counselors,  leaders, 
and  masters.  You  would  be,  we  will  say,  Secre- 
tary of  the  Treasury  or  Governor  of  the  State  of 
New  York — with  a  presidential  bee  buzzing  in  your 
ears.  .  .  .  Let  me  confess  it  candidly;  the  pros- 
pect does  not  please  me.  Between  communism 
dominated  by  Robert  Rives  La  Monte  and  a 
democracy  tempered  by  John  D.  Rockefeller  I  am 
constrained  to  choose  the  latter — not  because  I 
hate  you,  but  because  a  patient  and  painful  inquiry 
has  convinced  me  that,  on  the  whole,  the  philosophy 
lived  by  John  is  safer,  saner,  and  more  wholesome 
for  the  human  race  than  the  philosophy  preached 
by  you.  .  .  .  The  average  American,  I  take  it, 
agrees  with  me.  Maybe  that  is  why  a  proposal 
that  Rockefeller  be  assassinated  would  seem  a  joke 
to  him — a  joke  in  bad  taste,  perhaps,  but  still  a 
harmless  one.  Do  not  worry:  John  is  safe.  So 
long  as  we  proletarians  can  laugh  we  are  an  in- 
offensive lot. 

Your  other  objections  in  rebuttal,  in  the  matter  of 
Veblen  and  his  Magnates,  I  must  submit  to  pos- 
terity and  a  just  God  without  further  argument,  for 
this  correspondence  is  already  o'er-long,  and  be- 
fore closing  this  letter  I  must  try  to  answer  your 
charge  that  I  have  no  philosophy  of  life  to  offer  in 
place  of  Socialism.  This  charge,  at  least  in  part, 

230  Men  vs.  the  Man 

is  true  enough,  for  I  must  confess  that  I  have  no 
infallible  formula,  like  your  "  materialistic  concep- 
tion of  history,"  to  solve  all  the  problems  of  human 
existence.  Life  impresses  me,  most  of  all,  by  its 
appalling  complexity.  It  is  not  static  but  dynamic ; 
not  a  being,  but  an  eternal  becoming.  The  con- 
stant reaction  of  diversified  individuals  upon  a  fluent 
environment  produces  a  series  of  phenomena  which 
seems  to  me,  at  times,  to  be  beyond  all  ordering 
and  ticketing.  When  one  attempts  to  interpret 
these  phenomena,  and  to  reduce  them  to  ordered 
chains  and  classes,  the  result  is  too  often  a  futile 
waste  of  words.  Unlike  things  are  given  the  same 
name,  and  their  possession  of  that  name  in  com- 
mon is  taken  to  be  a  proof  of  their  identity.  Again, 
the  same  thing  is  given  two  names,  x  and  y,  and 
elaborate  equations  are  built  up  from  them,  with- 
out anyone  noticing  the  fallacies  that  fairly  bristle 
in  both  members.  Most  of  the  absurdities  of  the 
quack-science  of  sociology,  as  it  is  taught  by  vapid 
college  professors,  and  of  the  quasi-science  of 
political  economy,  as  it  is  taught  by  professors,  la- 
bor leaders,  editorial  writers,  and  rhapsodists,  arise 
out  of  just  such  errors. 

You  Socialists  often  blunder  into  the  trap.  In 
your  last  letter,  for  example,  you  say  that,  "  given 
small  hand  tools  and  no  motive  power,  and  there 
inevitably  results  handicraft  production."  On  the 
surface,  this  seems  to  be  a  sound  enough  generali- 
zation, but  a  moment's  inspection  will  show  that  its 

Men  vs.  the  Man  231 

soundness  is  a  mere  appearance.  What  you  actu- 
ally say,  in  fact,  is  this :  that  given  hand  tools  and 
nothing  else,  there  must  inevitably  result  the  use 
of  hand  tools.  There  is  just  as  much  intelligibil- 
ity in  that  statement,  and  no  more,  as  you  will  find 
in  the  statement  that  all  one-eyed  men  must  see 
out  of  one  eye. 

But  you  are  not  alone  in  your  errors.  Others 
just  as  gross  are  made  by  all  other  men  who  seek 
to  reduce  the  complex  and  disorderly  phenomena 
of  life  to  rigid  rules.  I  fall  into  them  myself 
whenever  I  set  pen  to  paper — as  you  have  noticed 
full  often  in  these  letters  of  mine — and  only  the 
soothing  knowledge  that  I  am  not  alone  in  my  blun- 
dering— that  even  the  Huxleys,  the  Newtons,  and 
the  Darwins  are  sometimes  with  me — keeps  me 
from  abandoning  controversy  as  an  art  impos- 
sible by  the  very  nature  of  things.  Generaliza- 
tions, indeed,  all  have  their  limits — even  this  one. 
Apply  them  often  enough,  and  you  will  come  in- 
evitably upon  some  disconcerting  exception,  some 
radioactive  anarchist.  The  cosmic  process  is  made 
up  of  innumerable  acts,  and  the  more  we  ex- 
amine any  of  them,  the  more  we  become  convinced 
that,  in  many  respects,  it  is  unique.  But  because 
philosophy  is  long  and  life  is  short  we  must  as- 
sume, even  when  we  can't  entirely  believe,  that 
they  fall  into  groups  and  classes,  else  we  could 
never  hope  to  study  them  at  all.  In  Prof.  James' 
phrase,  we  must  use  short  cuts  in  our  reasoning. 

232  Men  vs.  the  Man 

But  we  may  still  take  care,  in  using  them,  that 
they  are  not  needlessly  short. 

And  now  for  the  philosophy  which  I  choose  to 
regard  as  more  accurate  and  more  satisfactory  than 
Socialism.  You  complain  that  I  have  failed  to 
state  it  in  my  letters,  simply  and  unequivocably, 
but  you  must  admit  that  I  have  given  you  more 
than  one  glimpse  of  its  outlines.  These  glimpses, 
I  make  no  doubt,  have  long  ago  informed  you 
that  it  is,  in  the  rough,  a  square  denial  of 
practically  all  the  doctrines  and  ideals  at  the  bot- 
tom of  Christianity  and  Socialism.  Whenever  and 
however  Christianity  and  Socialism  differ,  my  vote 
is  for  Socialism,  and  to  that  extent,  perhaps,  I  may 
claim  membership  in  your  fraternity.  Like  you,  I 
hold  in  abhorrence  the  false  promise  that  "  the 
meek  shall  inherit  the  earth  " — the  one  ingredient 
which  effectually  separates  Christian  morality  from 
all  other  moralities — and  like  you,  I  hold  that  life 
upon  the  earth  is  a  very  agreeable  thing,  and  that 
men  should  concentrate  their  greatest  efforts  upon 
making  it  more  agreeable — a  notion  which  no  hon- 
est Christian,  with  his  belief  in  the  ineradicable 
vileness  of  humanity,  and  the  futility  of  human  ef- 
fort, can  harbor  without  a  feeling  of  guilt.  In 
all  this  we  are  one,  but  when  it  comes  to  the  doc- 
trines, which  Christianity  and  Socialism  hold  in 
common,  we  are  two.  I  refer  here,  of  course,  to 
the  doctrines  that  all  men  are  equal  "  before  the 
Lord,"  that  a  man's  duty  to  his  brother  is  greater 

Men  vs.  the  Man  233 

than  his  duty  to  himself,  that  the  hopeless  yearn- 
ings of  a  stupid,  helpless,  and  inefficient  man  are, 
in  some  recondite  manner,  more  pleasing  to  the 
Master  of  the  universe  than  the  well-ordered,  in- 
telligible plans  and  achievements  of  an  efficient 
man.  I  cannot  believe  these  things.  It  seems  to 
me,  indeed,  that  they  are  palpably  untrue,  and  that, 
by  reason  of  their  untruth,  they  are  dangerous  foes 
to  human  progress. 

You  Socialists,  in  the  very  first  paragraph  of 
your  philosophy,  make  one  of  the  errors  that  I 
have  mentioned  in  a  preceding  paragraph.  That 
is  to  say,  you  give  very  unlike  things  the  same 
name,  and  then  assume  that  they  are  like.  As  ex- 
amples of  these  unlike  things,  I  can  do  no  better 
than  mention  Thomas  Henry  Huxley  and  a  man 
whom  we  may  call  the  Rev.  Jasper  Johnson.  On 
the  surface  you  will  find  many  points  of  resem- 
blance between  the  two.  Huxley  was  a  male  of 
the  genus  homo,  and  so  is  Johnson;  Huxley  had 
five  fingers  on  each  hand,  and  so  has  Johnson; 
Huxley  expressed  his  ideas  in  the  English  language, 
and  so  does  Johnson ;  Huxley  was  carnivorous  and 
so  is  Johnson.  Reckon  up  all  these  points  of  re- 
semblance and  you  will  find  them  almost  infinite  in 
number.  But,  reckon  up,  then,  the  points  of  dif- 
ference between  the  two  men,  and  you  will  find 
them  equal  to  #n  plus  a  million.  In  every  char- 
acteristic, instinct,  habit,  and  quality  which  serves 
to  differentiate  any  man  from  any  ape,  Huxley 

234  Men  vs.  the  Man 

was  more  lavishly  endowed,  perhaps,  than  any 
other  individual  man  that  ever  lived;  but  in  John- 
son these  characteristics,  instinct,  habits,  and  qual- 
ities, when  they  appear  at  all,  are  so  faint  that 
it  is  well-nigh  impossible  to  detect  them.  Huxley, 
in  a  word,  was  an  intellectual  colossus ;  while  John- 
son, intellectually,  scarcely  exists  at  all.  The  one 
pushed  the  clock  of  progress  ahead  a  hundred 
years ;  the  other  is  a  foul,  ignorant,  thieving,  super- 
stitious, self-appointed  negro  preacher  of  the  Black 
Belt,  whose  mental  life  is  made  up  of  three  ambi- 
tions— to  eat  a  whole  hog  at  one  meal,  to  be  a 
white  man  in  heaven,  and  to  meet  a  white  woman, 
some  day,  in  a  lonely  wood. 

And  yet,  by  the  socialistic  and  Christian  philoso- 
phies, these  men  are  equal.  According  to  the 
Christian  seers,  they  will  kneel  before  the  throne 
of  God  side  by  side,  and  spend  eternity  as  brothers. 
According  to  the  Socialist  seers,  they  are  equally 
fitted  to  deal  with  the  great  problems  of  society  and 
the  state,  equally  worthy  of  ease,  protection,  and 
leisure,  and  equally  entitled  to  have  the  aid  of  their 
fellow-men  in  the  achievement  of  their  ambitions. 

I  am  unable,  my  dear  La  Monte,  to  grant  this 
much.  It  seems  to  me,  indeed,  that  the  man  who 
attempts  to  prove  merely  that  Huxley  and  Johnson 
belong  to  the  same  order  of  living  creatures  has 
a  staggering  task  ahead  of  him.  The  gap  be- 
tween them,  I  am  convinced,  is  greater  than  that 
between  Johnson  and  the  anthropoid  apes.  Phys- 

Men  vs.  the  Man  235 

ically,  true  enough,  there  is  probably  only  a  dif- 
ference in  degree,  but  mentally  there  is  an  abysmal 
difference  in  kind.  No  conceivable  course  of  train- 
ing, however  protracted,  could  convert  Johnson 
into  an  imitation  of  Huxley.  The  one  came  into 
the  world  with  certain  inherited  traits,  certain  in- 
valuable forms  of  congenital  efficiency,  which  the 
other  can  never  hope  to  acquire.  The  one  be- 
longed to  a  caste  of  men  whose  value  to  the  human 
race,  and  whose  consequent  right  to  life,  no  sane 
person  would  venture  to  deny;  the  other  belongs 
to  a  caste  whose  value  is  obviously  nil,  and  whose 
right  to  life,  in  consequence,  must  be  proved  be- 
fore it  is  admitted. 

Here,  then,  I  arrive  at  that  doctrine  of  human 
rights  which  seems  to  me  to  be  most  in  accord  with 
the  inflexible  and  beneficent  laws  of  nature  which 
rule  man  in  his  complex  communities  just  as  rigidly 
as  they  rule  staphylococci  in  their  culture  tubes. 
Of  these  rights  there  are  two  classes — first,  those 
which  a  man  (or  a  class  of  men)  wrests  from  his 
environment  by  force;  and  secondly,  those  which 
he  obtains  by  an  exchange  of  values.  A  man  is 
exercising  rights  of  the  first  class  when  he  kills  the 
wolf  that  seeks  to  devour  him,  or  wrings  a  living 
directly  from  the  earth;  he  is  exercising  a  right 
of  the  second  class  when  he  takes  his  skill  and  in- 
dustry into  the  open  market  and  sells  them  for 
whatever  they  will  bring.  If  the  service  that  he 
offers  is  of  small  value  to  his  fellow-men,  he  must 

236  Men  vs.  the  Man 

be  content  with  a  small  return  for  it.  And  if,  per- 
chance, it  has  no  value,  he  must  accept  nothing  as 
his  reward.  There  is,  in  a  word,  no  irreducible 
minimum  of  compensation,  due  to  every  man  by 
virtue  of  his  mere  existence  as  a  human  being. 
No  man  has  any  right  to  life,  save  that  which  he 
proves  by  mastering  his  environment. 

This  view  of  the  world  and  its  people  is  not 
quite  so  anthropophagous  as  my  bald  statement  of 
it  may  make  it  seem.  It  does  not  exclude  those 
feelings  of  pity,  charity,  and  good-will  which  grow 
out  of  habit  and  association,  nor  does  it  exclude 
that  wise  foresight  which  sometimes  prompts  the 
strong  man  to  aid  the  weak  man,  that  the  latter, 
perchance,  may  shake  off  his  weakness  and  become 
a  helper  instead  of  a  pensioner.  But  it  does  ex- 
clude that  sentimental  reverence  for  the  human  be- 
ing, per  se,  which  credits  him  with  a  long  cata- 
logue of  gratuitous  and  complex  rights,  all 
grounded  upon  the  ancient  theological  notion  that 
he  is,  in  some  sense,  divine.  This  notion,  I  be- 
lieve, is  to  blame  for  nine-tenths  of  the  wretched- 
ness in  the  world  to-day.  It  is  to  blame  for  that 
unhealthy  charity  which  coddles  the  degenerate, 
half-human  pauper  of  England,  and  encourages 
him,  in  the  name  of  God,  to  beget  more  of  his 
kind;  it  is  to  blame  for  that  maudlin  theory  of 
liberty  which,  in  the  United  States,  makes  the  vote 
of  a  negro  loafer  as  potent  as  that  of  a  Charles 
Eliot  or  a  Thomas  Edison;  and  it  is  to  blame, 

Men  vs.  the  Man  237 

finally,  for  that  insidious  and  paralyzing  unrest 
which,  as  Socialism  or  what  not,  is  making  the  in- 
efficient man  still  more  inefficient  by  convincing  him 
that  efficiency  is  valueless  and  even  criminal.  No 
great  eloquence  is  needed  to  make  a  roustabout  be- 
lieve that  he  is  as  good  a  man  as  the  governor  of 
his  state,  but  his  belief  in  that  absurdity  is  no  proof 
of  its  truth,  and  in  the  process  of  instilling  it  into 
his  foggy  mind  you  have  ruined  him  as  a  roust- 

In  order  that  the  human  race  may  go  forward,  it 
seems  to  me  desirable  that  the  rewards  of  extraor- 
dinary efficiency  should  be  magnificently  alluring, 
and  that  the  penalties  of  complete  inefficiency 
should  be  swift,  merciless,  and  terrible.  It  is  not 
sufficient  that  the  unusual  man  be  given  enough  to 
eat,  and  a  roof  to  shelter  him  from  the  weather, 
for  such  things  are  within  the  easy  reach  of  prac- 
tically all  men.  He  must  have,  in  addition,  a  re- 
ward which  effectively  marks  him  off  from  the 
common  man.  It  is  for  him  to  nominate  the  qual- 
ity of  that  reward,  and  it  is  for  his  fellow-men  to 
determine  its  quantity.  If  he  wants  money,  let 
him  have  money.  If  he  wants  power,  honor, 
glory,  worship,  let  him  have  what  he  wants.  Per- 
haps that  incomparable — but,  to  the  common  man, 
incomprehensible — joy  which  comes  with  the  con- 
sciousness of  work  well  done  will  suffice  him.  Per- 
haps, on  the  contrary,  he  will  demand,  not  only 
riches  for  himself,  but  also  a  guarantee  that  his 

238  Men  vs.  the  Man 

children  shall  be  rich  for  generations.  What- 
ever he  desires,  he  proves  title  to  it  by  getting 
it.  In  the  free  market  of  the  world  he  finds  his 

The  man  of  less  efficiency  makes  a  less  splendid 
bargain,  for  the  things  that  he  offers  for  sale  have 
less  value.  If  he  is  at  the  bottom  of  the  scale 
his  wares  have  scarcely  any  value  at  all,  since  they 
are  within  the  reach  of  nearly  every  one:  There 
is  no  art  at  which  he  is  appreciably  more  skilful 
than  any  other  man.  Therefore,  he  must  seek  his 
living  at  drudgery,  at  which  all  men  of  normal 
health  are  equally  efficient.  Men  who  desire  to 
escape  their  share  of  the  world's  drudgery,  because 
more  agreeable  and  more  profitable  work  invites 
their  skill,  give  it  over  to  him.  The  thing  that  he 
offers  for  sale,  in  a  word,  is  exactly  that  elemental 
functional  energy  which  a  draught  horse  offers  for 
sale,  and  nothing  more;  and  the  price  that  he 
gets  for  it,  as  Adam  Smith  showed  long  ago,  is  the 
same  price  paid  to  the  horse — food  and  shelter, 
and  nothing  more.  If  he  superimposes  upon  that 
functional  energy  the  slightest  skill,  his  pay  begins 
to  include  something  beside  the  bare  means  of  ex- 
istence, and  as  his  skill  increases,  his  pay  in- 
evitably follows  it. 

It  seems  to  me  that  this  is  an  admirable  arrange- 
ment. If  I  had  the  power  to  change  it,  I  should 
not  make  the  slightest  alteration.  If  I  were  told 
off  to  create  a  new  universe,  I  should  adopt  the 

Men  vs.  the  Man  239 

whole  plan  bodily.  We  human  beings  may  well 
offer  our  thanks  to  it  for  our  emergence  from  the 
dumb  brutes.  It  has  lifted  us  up  in  the  past,  and 
it  will  lift  us  up  for  all  time  to  come.  It  stamps 
out,  automatically  and  certainly,  not  only  the  in- 
efficient individual  but  also  the  useless  class  and 
the  weakling  race.  Its  tendency  is  to  accentuate 
and  make  more  conspicuous  all  of  those  traits  and 
forms  of  skill  which  best  differentiate  the  human 
being  from  all  other  beings.  It  offers  enormous 
premiums  to  the  man  who  can  do  well  the  things 
which  all  other  men  can  do  only  badly,  or  not  at 
all.  It  reduces  to  slavery  the  man  who  has  only 
the  strength  of  a  weak  ox  to  sell.  And  in  its  deal- 
ings with  the  countless  individuals  between  this 
master-man  and  this  slave-man,  it  determines  every 
man's  value,  not  by  his  yearnings  or  his  intentions, 
but  by  the  immediate  value  of  his  acts. 

Dealing  thus  with  countless  individuals,  it  sets 
them  off,  roughly,  into  castes,  but  there  are  no 
palpable  barriers  about  these  castes.  A  man  born 
into  the  lowest  may  die  in  the  highest.  A  race  as 
generally  inefficient  as  the  African  may  produce 
an  occasional  Hannibal  or  Dumas,  and  a  race  at 
the  top  of  the  scale  may  have  its  hordes  of  idiots. 
In  one  century,  when  the  general  environment  of 
humanity  puts  a  premium  upon  a  certain  kind  of 
skill,  the  race  best  displaying  it  may  rule  the  world, 
and  two  centuries  later,  when  changes  in  environ- 
ment make  some  other  kind  of  skill  more  valuable, 

240  Men  vs.  the  Man 

that  same  race  may  sink  to  practical  slavery.  The 
great  reward  is  always  to  the  race,  as  to  the  in- 
dividual, which  best  masters  the  present  difficulty 
and  meets  the  present  need. 

Civilization,  growing  conscious  of  the  natural 
castes,  erects  them  into  classes,  and  then  seeks  to 
make  their  prerogatives  and  disabilities  permanent. 
But  this  effort,  in  the  long  run,  inevitably  fails. 
There  was  a  time  in  the  history  of  the  world,  for 
example,  when  its  priest  class  possessed  absolute 
power  over  all  other  classes — power  infinitely 
greater  than  that  wielded  by  the  military  class  in 
the  middle  ages,  or  by  the  commercial  class  to-day. 
It  seemed  utterly  incredible,  at  that  time,  that 
the  priest  class  would  one  day  become  a  rabble  of 
scarcely  tolerated  parasites,  and  yet  that  thing  has 
come  to  pass.  The  military  class,  in  the  same 
way,  has  lost  its  old  kingship,  and  to-day  its  very 
existence  depends  upon  the  good-will  of  the  com- 
mercial class.  Perhaps  the  latter,  too,  will  be  de- 
throned in  time.  I  am  sure  I  don't  know.  It  is 
even  possible  that  the  "  producer  "  class  may  have 
its  innings.  Again,  I  don't  know. 

But  this  I  do  know:  that  the  plan  of  Socialism 
to  lift  up  the  "  producer  "  class  to  sovereignty  by 
an  act  of  human  volition  is  as  absurd  as  the  old 
ecclesiastical  plan  to  solve  the  riddles  of  the  uni- 
verse by  revelation  and  anathema.  If  the  thing 
ever  comes  to  pass  at  all,  it  must  come  by  slow 
stages  and  as  a  symptom  of  changes  in  the  needs 

Men  vs.  the  Man  241 

and  desires  of  the  human  race.  At  present  the 
race  seems  to  stand  most  in  need  of  improvements 
in  the  art  of  life.  To  the  man  who  offers  it  a 
secret  password  to  heaven,  it  gives  little,  for  it  is 
little  interested  in  heaven,  but  for  him  who  offers  it 
some  new  scheme  to  attain  ease  and  comfort — some 
improvement  in  marketing  petroleum,  some  device 
for  making  travel  safer,  some  new  food,  some 
new  plan  of  investing  savings — it  has  rewards  as 
large  as  those  that  once  went  to  popes  and  em- 
perors. And  in  this  favored  class  of  services,  it 
esteems  most  the  unique  service.  To  the  man 
who  makes  shoes  which,  whatever  their  excellence, 
are  no  more  comfortable  than  the  shoes  made  at 
the  next  bench,  it  gives  a  comparatively  small  re- 
ward. And  so,  too,  it  has  no  prize  for  the  man 
who  raises  wheat  in  the  old,  old  way,  and  stores 
it  in  his  bin.  But  to  the  man  who,  by  inventing 
new  machinery  or  by  better  organizing  the  work, 
improves  the  comfort  of  shoes,  and  to  the  man 
who  buys  the  wheat  of  the  farmers  and  hauls  it 
craftily  to  where  it  is  most  needed — to  these  men 
it  gives  extraordinary  rewards. 

The  effort  to  lift  the  man  of  common  service 
to  the  level  of  the  man  of  uncommon  service  seems 
to  me  not  only  pernicious,  but  also,  in  the  long  run, 
inevitably  futile.  When  the  workingman,  going 
into  the  market  to  sell  his  skill,  attempts,  by  fair 
means,  to  strike  the  best  bargain  he  may,  he  has 
my  unfeigned  sympathy.  But  when,  as  a  man 

242  Men  vs.  the  Man 

of  common  skill,  he  demands  the  rewards  and  con- 
sideration due  only  to  the  man  of  uncommon  skill, 
it  seems  to  me  that  the  more  efficient  men  on  the 
other  side  of  the  counter  are  within  their  rights 
when  they  use  their  power  and  cunning  to  oppose 
his  exactions.  His  notion  that  in  addition  to  his 
just  wages  he  deserves  a  definite  reward  for  the 
mere  act  of  remaining  alive  is  one  to  which  I  can- 
not subscribe.  And  his  further  notion  that  his 
mere  condition  of  aliveness  makes  him  as  fit  to 
solve  the  most  difficult  problems  of  existence  as 
those  men  whose  extraordinary  efficiency  has  lifted 
them  up — in  this  matter,  too,  I  must  diverge  from 
him.  No  one,  I  am  sure,  regards  it  as  an  act  of 
tyranny  that  bricklayers  have  no  vote  in  the  deter- 
mination of  the  treatment  of  pneumonia.  In  the 
same  way  it  seems  to  me  equally  natural  that  negro 
farm  hands  should  have  no  voice  in  the  determina- 
tion of  those  great  questions  of  government,  com- 
merce, and  the  art  of  living  which  sorely  tax  even 
the  highest  men. 

But  do  the  great  rewards  always  go  to  the  most 
efficient  and  worthy?  How  about  the  idle  rich. 
And  how  about  luck  and  brute  strength?  Is  there 
any  excuse  for  the  besotted  master  of  inherited 
millions,  dragging  out  his  useless  days  in  self- 
indulgence?  And  isn't  it  a  fact  that  the  bitter 
struggle  for  existence,  in  destroying  a  weak  body, 
may  also  destroy  an  incomparable  mind?  And 
finally,  isn't  it  true  that  the  sole  difference  between 

Men  vs.  the  Man  243 

master  and  slave  is  sometimes  a  mere  difference  in 
opportunity  ? 

The  idle  rich  first.  What  of  them?  Does  my 
scheme  of  things  justify  them?  To  be  sure  it 
does  not — but  neither  does  it  demand  their  im- 
mediate and  melodramatic  extinction.  Admitting 
them  to  be  as  sinister  as  you  Socialists  accuse  them 
of  being,  two  factors,  it  seems  to  me,  tend  to  dilute 
their  capacity  for  actual  evil-doing.  One  is  the 
fact  that  they  are  few  in  number,  and  the  other  is 
the  fact  that  their  hold  upon  their  opulence  is  al- 
ways precarious.  In  other  words,  the  utterly  idle 
man,  who,  despite  his  idleness,  retains  his  riches, 
is  an  excessively  rare  individual.  You  must  go  to 
the  stage  and  the  uplift  magazines  to  find  him  in 
force.  In  real  life  he  is  met  with  as  seldom  as  a 
married  philosopher  or  the  horrid  behemoth  of 
Holy  Writ. 

The  vast  majority  of  our  millionaires  are  not 
idle  parasites,  but  simply  well-paid  workmen. 
The  money  that  rolls  in  upon  them  is  their  wage 
for  devoting  extraordinary  talents  to  extraordinary 
acts.  That  these  acts  are  sometimes  judged  to  be 
immoral  by  eminent  (though  self-appointed)  ex- 
perts has  nothing  to  do  with  the  case,  for  in  the 
struggle  for  existence  an  act  is  never  actually  moral 
or  immoral,  but  only  (in  the  broadest  sense  of  the 
words)  profitable  or  unprofitable,  worth  doing  or 
not  worth  doing.  The  view  of  it  taken  by  a 
moralist,  however  accomplished  he  may  be,  is  al- 

244  Men  vs.  the  Man 

ways  a  mere  opinion,  and  you  can  always  find  some 
other  moralist  to  contradict  it.  To  show  you  how 
nearly  this  is  true,  I  need  only  recall  to  you  that 
practically  every  act  possible  to  human  beings  has 
been  the  storm-center  of  furious  moral  debates. 
To  one  man  the  act  of  eating  flesh  seems  indecent, 
while  to  another  it  appears  as  the  most  agreeable 
operation  imaginable.  To  one  man  the  habit  of 
taking  money  from  ignorant  folk,  on  the  promise 
of  getting  them  into  heaven,  seems  the  most  dig- 
nified and  honorable  of  human  avocations,  while  to 
me  it  bears  the  aspect  of  a  peculiarly  heartless  and 
nefarious  form  of  fraud.  To  one  man  the  soldier 
is  a  hero;  to  another,  he  is  a  vile  loafer  and 
chronic  criminal.  To  one,  marriage  is  a  holy 
sacrament;  to  another,  it  is  a  dangerous  vice.  In 
view  of  all  this,  is  it  for  you  or  me  to  determine, 
once  and  for  all  time,  that  the  manner  in  which  a 
particular  millionaire  makes  his  money  is  im- 
moral? I  think  not.  So  long  as  the  millionaire 
himself  thinks  he  earns  it  honestly,  it  is  probably 
best  to  give  him  the  benefit  of  the  doubt.  For  all 
I  know,  even  the  cornering  of  the  wheat  market 
may  have  some  recondite  value;  and  whether  in- 
trinsically valuable  or  not,  it  is  certainly  valued, 
for  the  public  pays  for  it  lavishly. 

No;  the  average  millionaire  is  no  inert  leech, 
but  a  busy  toiler.  Even  when  his  wealth  comes 
to  him  as  a  free  gift  from  his  father,  he  must 
work  hard  to  retain  it.  If  you  have  ever  had  the 

Men  vs.  the  Man  245 

care  of  any  amount  of  capital,  however  small,  you 
will  have  to  admit  that  this  is  true.  A  further 
and  familiar  proof  is  offered  by  the  fact  that  great 
fortunes  seldom  remain  intact  for  more  than  a 
few  generations.  The  rich  man  can  be  entirely 
idle  only  at  enormous  expense.  It  sometimes  costs 
him  a  million  dollars  to  nurse  a  bad  cold,  for 
while  he  is  incommunicado  all  the  rest  of  humanity 
joins  in  a  desperate  effort  to  relieve  him  of  his 
fiscal  burdens.  The  noble  families  of  England, 
protected  in  their  properties  by  the  most  cunning 
laws  ever  devised  by  man,  are  yet  far  from  secure. 
According  to  one  painstaking  investigator,  not 
more  than  five  per  cent,  of  the  great  fortunes  of 
that  country's  peerage  have  come  down  unbroken 
for  two  generations.  Noble  and  rich  clans,  as  a 
rule,  are  quickly  absorbed  into  the  proletariat. 
The  great-grandson  of  a  duke  may  be  a  barber. 

But  even  admitting  the  idle  and  rich  son  of  a 
millionaire  to  be  entirely  and  perniciously  useless,  I 
fail  to  see  what  can  be  fairly  done  about  it.  His 
father  received  from  the  public  certain  enormous 
sums  for  certain  services,  which,  by  the  law  of 
supply  and  demand,  bore  a  high  market  value,  and, 
as  I  have  shown  before,  they  went  to  him  upon  the 
distinct  understanding  that  he  was  to  have  the  free 
use  of  them.  If  he  had  chosen  to  devote  them  to 
useful  public  purposes,  no  one  would  have  objected; 
and  if  he  had  chosen  to  pay  them,  on  his  deathbed, 
into  the  public  treasury,  even  you  Socialists  would 

246  Men  vs.  the  Man 

have  hailed  him  as  moral.  Why  should  he  be  de- 
nounced, then,  because  he  chose  to  hand  them  over 
to  his  dissolute  and  half-imbecile  son?  Would  it 
be  fair  or  honest,  after  making  a  definite  treaty 
with  him,  to  abrogate  it  without  his  consent? 
And  would  it  be  even  expedient?  Isn't  it  plain 
enough  that  his  idle  son  is  the  worst  of  all  possible 
foes  to  impregnable  wealth  ? 

And  now  for  the  other  objections.  Do  the 
greatest  rewards  really  go  to  the  most  efficient  and 
worthy?  Doesn't  the  struggle  for  existence,  by 
warring  upon  weak  bodies,  sometimes  rob  the 
world  of  incomparable  minds?  And  doesn't  luck 
play  the  principal  part  in  the  struggle?  I  an- 
swered most  of  these  questions,  I  believe,  in  a 
former  letter,  but  it  may  be  well  to  repeat  my  gen- 
eral answer  here.  It  is  this :  that  I  am  concerned 
in  this  discussion  with  the  world  as  it  is,  and  not 
with  the  world  as  it  might  or  should  be.  If  it 
were  possible,  by  a  human  act,  to  nullify  the  law 
that  the  fittest  shall  survive,  Socialism  and  all  other 
schemes  of  that  sort  would  become  reasonable — 
I  grant  only  their  reasonableness,  mind  you,  and 
not  their  truth — but  as  things  stand  it  seems  to  me 
that  they  are  almost  beyond  the  pale  of  debatable 
ideas.  Whether  for  woe  or  weal,  nature  pro- 
vides that  the  strong  shall  have  an  advantage  over 
the  weak,  and  that  the  fortunate  shall  outrun  the 
luckless  in  the  race.  It  is  scarcely  worth  while 
for  us  to  attempt  to  judge  nature  here.  All  we 

Men  vs.  the  Man  247 

may  safely  do  is  to  make  a  note  of  the  fact  that 
this  scheme  of  things,  whatever  its  horrors,  at  least 
makes  for  progress;  and  to  thank  whatever  gods 
there  be  that  we,  personally,  are  measurably  re- 
moved from  the  bottom  of  the  scale. 

I  am  not  a  religious  man,  but  I  cannot  think 
upon  my  own  good  fortune  in  life  without  a  feeling 
that  my  thanks  should  go  forth,  somewhere  and  to 
someone.  Wealth  and  eminence  and  power  are 
beyond  my  poor  strength  and  skill,  but  on  the  side 
of  sheer  chance  I  am  favored  beyond  all  computa- 
tion. My  day's  work  is  not  an  affliction,  but  a 
pleasure;  my  labor,  selling  in  the  open  market, 
brings  me  the  comforts  that  I  desire;  I  am  assured 
against  all  but  a  remote  danger  of  starvation  in 
my  old  age.  Outside  my  window,  in  the  street,  a 
man  labors  in  the  rain  with  pick  and  shovel,  and 
his  reward  is  merely  a  roof  for  to-night  and  to- 
morrow's three  meals.  Contemplating  the  differ- 
ence between  his  luck  and  mine,  I  cannot  fail  to 
wonder  at  the  eternal  meaninglessness  of  life.  I 
wonder  thus  and  pity  his  lot,  and  then,  after 
awhile,  perhaps,  I  begin  to  reflect  that  in  many 
ways  he  is  probably  luckier  than  I. 

But  I  wouldn't  change  places  with  him. 



Ability,    reward   of,   48,    91, 

237,  238,  241 
Altruism,  25,  222 
Anarchists,  44,  120 
Animism,    125 
Anthropomorphism,    75,    127, 


Antiparos,  36,  38,  69 
Aristocracy,    13,    14,    72,    73, 

74,  176,  179 
Aristotle,  35,  224 
Army  (see  Militarism),  50 
Arrhenius,    142 
Art,  14,  146,  208 
Astronomy,   128,   142 
Athens,  15 

Ballot    (see   Suffrage) 
Baltimore,  109,  129,  130 
Bebel,   August,    173 
Beliefs,    economic    basis  -of, 

133-135,  143,  169 
Beyond-man,    I,    7,    89,    129, 

175,  176,  177,  223 
Biology,  141 
Birth-rate,  70,  87 
Blatchford,  Robert,  124 
Bonaparte,  Napoleon,  73 
Briand,  Aristide,  173 
Bribery,  155,  156,  159,  171 
Bryan,   W.   J.,    188 

Caesar,  Julius,  29,  37,  51 
Capital,  composition  of,  6,  7, 

"Capital,"      Karl      Marx, 

quoted,  217,  218,  219 
Carnegie,  Andrew,  80 
Caste,  98,  101,  no,  112,  113, 
115,  116,  117,  125,  128,  161, 
162,  240 

Catastrophism,   140,   142,   170 
Centralization,  55,  218 
Chamberlain,  T.  C,  142 
Child-labor,  13 
Christianity,  75,  76,  114,  135, 


Cicero,  36,  97 

Cigar  manufacture,  20-23,  42 
Cimabue,  85,   184 
Class  struggle,  213 
Collectivism,  12 
Columbus,     Christopher,     29, 

37,  5i,. 203 
Communism,    12 
"Communist  Manifesto,"  Marx 

and  Engels,  quoted,  10,  183, 

216,  217,  220,  221 
Competition,  38,  49,  54,  70,  77, 


Cooley,  Charles  H.,  87 
Co-operation,   70 
Co-operative   Commonwealth, 


Culture,   13,   15 
Cuvier,   136,   137 

Darwin,  Charles,  75,  137,  138, 

139,    141,    167,   231 
Death-rate,    84,    108 
Debs,  E.  V.,  157 
Demeter,  36 
Democracy,   152,  171 
Department  store,  10,  176 
Depew,  C.  M.,  45 
Deville,  Gabriel,  220 
De  Vries,  Hugo,  136,  140 
Diaz,  Porfirio,  73,  84 
Diderot,  35,  36,  74 
Disease,  due  to  poverty,  58 
Dixon,  Rev.  Thomas,  148,  150 
Don  Quixote,  2 




Drama,  The,  14 

Duncan,  Robert  Kennedy,  142 

Earthquakes,  142 

Economic  determinism,  8,  37, 
86,  105,  133,  135,  212,  214 

Economics,  8,  27,  43 

Education,  u,  88,  160 

Ehrlich,  28,  151 

Eliot,  Charles  W.,  158 

Employees  as  share-holders, 
78,  91 

Emulation,  64,  68 

Engels,  Friedrich,  36,  183, 
184,  216,  221,  222 

Equality,  75,  131,  151;  eco- 
nomic, 129 ;  intellectual, 
iqi,  102;  racial,  131,  132 

Ethics,  76,  232;  of  capital- 
ism, 90,  243,  244;  of  So- 
cialism, 222;  economic  basis 
of,  90,  135 

Evolution,  29,  80,  113,  127, 
128,  141,  143,  167 

Exploitation,  4,  7,  24,  34,  122, 
177,  215,  216,  238 

Expropriation,  217,  219 

Factories,  9,  215 
Ferri,  Enrico,  131 
Feudal  economy,  4 
Flammarion,  Camille,  142 
Foreign  markets,  5,  77,  78 
France,  35,  37 

Francis,  Saint,  of  Assisi,  101 
French    Revolution,    37,    71, 
136,  169 

Genius,  waste  of  under  capi- 
talism, 86 
Geology,    142 
Ghent,  W.  J.,  7 
Giotto,  85,   184 
Golden  Rule,  The,  90 
Gould,  Jay,  91,  178,  187 
Greece,  35,  37,  69 

Harriman,    E.    H.,    91,    178, 

179,  210 
Hegel,  142 
Heredity,   104,   138 
Herodotus,  96 
Hertzka,  Prof.,  55,  89 
Hill,  James  J.,  74,  90,  179,  108 
Hitch,  Marcus,  145 
Housing,  in  the  future,  54 
Hunter,  Robert,  13 
Huxley,  T.  H.,  31,  118,   166, 

205,  231,  233,  234 

Ibsen,  Henrik,  180-184,  222 
Ideals,   2,   89,   202,  204,   205, 

207,  208,  209,  211 
Immoralists,  7,  175,  179 
Incentive,  89,  239 
Individualism,    179,    180,    184 


Inevitability,  of  Socialism,  7, 

38,  91,  216 
Intellectuals,   n,  139 
Intemperance,  67,  89,  130 
International     Socialist     Re- 
view, 57,  89 
Intimidation,  154,  171 

Jaures,  Jean,  173 

Jefferson,  Thomas,  2 

Jesus  Christ,  2,  76,  101,  184, 

Jews,  The,  203 

Kautsky,  Karl,  136,  215,  223 

Labor,  its  share  of  product, 
40-42;  hours  of,  8,  25,  26, 
53,  56,  57,  62;  pleasure  in, 
58,  67,  93,  95 
Lafargue,  Paul,  98 
Lamarck,  137,  138 
Lassalle,   Ferdinand,   103 
Legislation,  189,  211,  212 
Lewis,  Arthur  Morrow,   136, 


Lincoln,    Abraham,    137,    177 
Literature,  14,  145,  146 



London,  Jack,  8 
Lonesomeness,    129,    168,   169 
Louis  XIV.,  72 
Louis   XVI.,   72 
Lowell,   Percival,   128 
Lyell,  Sir  Charles,  137,  138 

Machine    Process,   9,    10,    n, 

144,  180 
Machinery,    economic    effects 

of,  4,  36,  38,  69,  208 
Mallock,   W.  H.,  91 
Malthus,  69,  88 
Manufacture,  capital  invested 

in,  41 
Mars,  128 
Marx,  Karl,  i,  10,  13,  18,  24, 

69,  177,   183,  184,  2ii 
Materialist      Conception      of 

history,  69,  230  (see  Eco- 
nomic determinism) 

Mendel,  Gregor,  104,  138,  139 

Messina  earthquake,  98-101 

Middle  ages,  4 

Middle  classes,  10,  n,  175, 

Militarism,  174 

Morality,  243  (see  Ethics) 

Morgan,  J.  P.,  n,  176,  205 

Morgan,  Lewis  H.,  85,  213, 
214,  219 

Morris,  William,  93,  94,  95, 
146,  208 

Moses,  29,  37,  51,  68,  167 

Mutations,  141,  161 

Natural  Selection,  25,  33,  69, 

70,  117,  118,  206,  246 
Naval  expenditures,  174-5 
Negro,    The,    no,    116,    124, 

130,  132,  151,  162,  234 
Nietzsche,    Friedrich,    I,    43, 
63,  64,  89,  98,  129,  135,  179, 
180,  211 

Odin,  A.,  86,   145 
Over-man,  223  (see  Beyond- 

Ovtr-population,    70,    82,    87, 

Panics,  4,  24,  51,  175 
Pasteur,  33,  35,  58,  60,  68,  84, 

85,  108,  in 
Peasant,    The   Russian,    116, 

Pecuniary  Magnates,  177-179, 

185-201,  207,  209,  210,  224- 


Pericles,   15,  35,  37 
Pig-iron,      production      and 

wages,  42 

Pinchot,   Gifford,  88 
Planetesimal   hypothesis,    142 
Plato,  35,  97 
Poincare,   Lucien,    143 
Politics,   Socialist,   221 
Pragmatism,  119 
Productive    powers,    growth 

of,  4 
Progress,   12,   16,  29,  32,  80, 

114,  247 
Proletariat,   12,  96,   103,   172, 


Punnett,  R.  C,  141 
Purchasing  power,   5,   7,   18, 

38,  39 

Rabble,  The,  2,  89,  129 
Race  suicide,  88 
Reason,  Eternal,  36,  37,  43 
Reeve,  Sidney  A.,  54 
Reform,  222 

Representative      government, 
limits    of    taxation    under, 

Rockefeller,  John  D.,  79,  84, 

115,  158,  176,  191,  203,  205, 

210,  229 

Rogers,  H.  H.,  210 
Roosevelt,  Theodore,  88,  105, 

106,  123 
Rousseau,   Jean  Jacques,  36, 




School    children,    under-fed, 


Schopenhauer,  Arthur,  63,64 
Science  and  economics,   136- 


See,  T.  J.  J.,  141 
Shaw,  G.  Bernard,  124,  129 
Shaw,  Leslie  M.,  43 
Shylock,   186 
Slavery,  35 

Slobodin,  Henry  L.,  57 
Smith,  Adam,  4,  28 
Social    Democracy,    139 
Social    development,   214 
Socialist   Party,   9 
Social  Revolution,  The,  7,  8, 

9,    12,    13,    15,    38,    39,    43, 

90,   91,   144,    145,    147,    179, 


Social  Utopias,  120,  208 

Solidarity,  180 

Spargo,   John,    13 

Spencer,   Herbert,    160 

State,   The,  219 

Steel  Corporation,  U.  S.,  46, 

78,  90 

Stirner,  Max,  179,  180 
Strauss,  N.,  n 
Strike,   The,   212,   213 
Suffrage,  154,  189,  212,  242 
Super-man        (see     Beyond- 

Surplus  produce,   18,  43,  44, 

Surplus,  Troublesome,  44,  46, 

Surplus  value,  24,  77,  90 

Tennyson,  Alfred,  81-83,  208 
Third  Estate,  The,  37 
Trades-unionism,  9,  66 
Trusts,  10,  155,  176 
Tuberculosis,    death-rate    in, 
59,  109 

Unemployment,   9 
University  of  Virginia,  132 

Vandervelde,  E.,  173 
Veblen,  Thorstein,  9,  49,  51, 

126,  135,  144,  177,  185,  188, 

189,  193,  209,  229 
Voltaire,  74 

Wages,  4,  17,  40,  47,  9L  238; 

of  employer,  20 
Wallace,  Alfred  R.,  137,  139, 


War,  49,  52,  174 
Ward,  Lester  R,  85,  101,  104, 

118,  129,  131,  132,  143,  169 
Warren,  Fred  D.,  46 
Washington,   George,  80 
Waste,  49,  50,  54,  88 
Wealth,  as  an  ideal,  201,  202, 

210;  dissipation  of,  80,  92, 


Weismann,  August,  104,  160 
Wells,  H.  G.,  2,  13 
Wheat,    labor    necessary    to 

produce,  57 

Williams,  Dr.  Linsly,  59 
Wilshire,  Gaylord,  44,  174 
Work,  contempt  for,  96-98 

Xenophon,  35,  97 



A  novel  placed  in  a  large  American  city  during  a  supposed 
Socialistic  regime,  and  showing  results  inevitable  in  the  present 
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interest  is  in  the  story  or  the  problems.  The  characters  are 
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J.  H.  HOLLANDER  and  G.  E.  BARNETT  (Editors) 

Twelve  papers  by  graduate  students  and  officers  of  Johns 
Hopkins  University,  the  results  of  original  investigations  of 
representative  Trade  Unions.  There  are  also  chapters  on 
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By  DAVID   STARR  JORDAN,  President  of  Stanford 

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The  story  of  a  city  made  rich  by  taxation. 

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McPherson's  Railroad  Freight  Rates 

In  Their  Relation  to  the  Industry  and  Commerce  of  the  United 

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"  Interesting  incidents  in  a  tale  well  worth  reading." — New  York 

"  Memorable  novel.  .  .  .  Throughout  it  is  an  engrossing  tale  .  .  . 
it  is  a  master  hand  that  has  traced  the  gradual  retrogression  of  David 
Holman." — Chicago  Record-Herald. 

"  Well  written  and  should  take  its  place  among  those  forces  which 
tend  to  heighten  the  standard  of  political  honesty." — Living  Age. 

"  Told  with  compelling  force.  The  scene  at  the  convention  is 
described  with  graphic  power  and  the  characters  are  well  drawn  .  .  • 
a  virile  novel." — San  Francisco  Bulletin. 


A  historical  romance  with  peculiarly  engaging  characters, 
stirring  incidents,  and  a  big,  lovable,  and  unconsciously 
humorous  Cromwellian  soldier  as  hero.  I2mo,  $1.50. 

"  His  splendid  sister,  Betty.  Mr.  Vance  gives  his  book  an  atmosphere 
of  the  times  .  .  .  the  love  story  is  charming  with  its  intimate  analysis 
of  the  big  fellow's  emotions  and  honest  awkwardness,  never  folly.  His 
wit  is  clumsy  .  .  .  but  it  is  wit,  and,  slowly  perhaps,  it  gets  there." — 
Hartford  Courant. 

"  A  book  to  read  leisurely,  as  one  sips  and  enjoys  good  wine." — 
Detroit  Free  Press. 

"  A  rattling  romance.  The  action  is  quick  and  spirited." — Chicago 

"  Incident  is  piled  upon  incident,  with  abundance  of  familiarity  with 
the  life,  conditions,  happenings,  thoughts,  convictions,  and  speech  of 
the  period." — The  Outlook. 

"  Is  an  admirable  historical  romance,  full  of  interest  and  charm, 
and  bubbling  with  genuine  humor."— WILLIAM  LYON  PHELPS,  Pro- 
fessor of  English  Literature  at  Yale. 




OF  NEW  YORK  (1774-1882) 
De  Alva  Stanwood  Alexander,  A.M. 

£°{*'f «  f  /L  U7J4'*861).  840 pp. , 8vo. $5.  OO  net  (carriage  4Oc.  extra) 
VoL  III.  (1861-1882).     56 1pp..   8 vo.     $2.50  net  (carriage  28c.   extra) 

A  history  of  the  movements  of  political  parties  in  New  York 
State  from  1774  to  1882,  and  embraces  a  series  of  brilliant  char- 
acter studies  of  the  leaders,  most  of  them  of  national  importance, 
who,  from  the  days  of  George  Clinton,  have  drawn  the  attention  of 
the  nation  to  New  York.  The  astute  methods  and  sources  of  power 
by  which  George  Clinton,  Hamilton,  Burr,  DeWitt  Clinton,  Van 
Buren,  Seymour  and  Thurlow  Weed  each  successively  controlled  the 
political  destiny  of  the  State  are  clearly  and  picturesquely  set  forth. 
The  third  volume  narrates,  fully  and  entertainingly,  the  futile 
efforts  of  Weed  and  Dean  Richmond  to  reorganize  existing  parties, 
the  rise  and  fall  of  the  Tweed  Ring,  Conkling's  punishment  of 
Greeley  and  defeat  of  Fenton,  Tilden's  defiance  of  Tammany  and 
struggle  with  Kelly,  and  the  overthrow  of  the  Stalwart  regime  by 
the  crushing  victory  of  Grover  Cleveland.  Throughout  it  is  char- 
acterized, too,  with  a  fairness  which  must  appeal  to  the  strongest 
partisan.  (Circular  with  sample  pages  on  application.) 

"  It  meets  a  want  widely  felt  and  repeatedly  expressed  during 
the  past  hundred  years.  ...  It  would  be  impossible  in  a  dozen 
notices  to  render  any  sort  of  justice  to  the  extensive  scope  of  this 
work  and  to  the  multiplicity  of  its  interesting  details." — From  two 
leading  articles,  aggregating  over  ten  columns,  in  the  New  York 

"  Will  undoubtedly  take  its  place  as  the  authoritative  work  upon 
the  subject." — Boston  Transcript. 

"  The  most  entertaining  story  of  state  politics  in  American 
history." — Review  of  Reviews. 

"  Will  be  read  with  great  interest  and  profit  outside  the  Empire 
State."— Cleveland  Plain  Dealer. 


Dedicated  by  permission  to  Thomas  Jefferson,  Esq.  First  Pub- 
lished, London,  1803.  With  Introduction  and  Notes  by  Alfred  J. 
Morrison.  8vo,  429  pps.  $2.50  net,  by  mail  $2.65. 

The  only  book  of  the  period  written  by  a  traveller  in  the  United 
States  the  object  of  which  is  not  so  much  statistical  narrative  as 
narrative  purely.  It  is  a  story  of  wanderings  from  New  York  to 
South  Carolina,  and  as  such  affords  a  most  interesting  picture  of 
the  greater  part  of  the  United  States  at  the  beginning  of  the 
nineteenth  century.  The  author  was  a  novelist  and  shows  it  in  his 
book.  A  necessary  book  for  even  an  exclusive  collection  of  Amer- 
icana. Measured  by  any  standard  an  unusual  book  of  travel. 

Trevelyan  in  his  "  American  Revolution "  says  of  this  book : 
"  Among  accounts  of  such  voyages,  none  are  more  life-like ;  an  ex- 
quisitely absurd  book,  which  the  world,  to  the  diminution  of  itg 
gaiety,  has  forgotten."  ^^^^^ 

If  the  reader  will  send  his  name  and  address,  the  publishers  will 
Bend,  from  time  to  time,  information  regarding  their  new  books. 




With  portraits,  8vo.     $3.50  net ;  by  mail,  $3.68. 

Mrs.  Norton  was  the  great  Sheridan's  grand-daughter, 
beautiful  and  witty,  the  author  of  novels,  poems  and  songs, 
contesting  contemporary  popularity  with  Mrs.  Browning ;  her 
influence  was  potent  in  politics  ;  Meredith  undoubtedly  had 
her  in  mind  when  he  drew  "  Diana  of  the  Crossways." 

"  Reads  like  a  novel  .  .  .  seems  like  the  page  from  an  old  romance,  and 
Miss  Perkins  has  preserved  all  its  romantic  charm.  .  .  .  Miss  Perkins  has 
let  letters,  and  letters  unusually  interesting,  tell  much  of  the  story.  ...  In- 
deed her  biography  has  all  the  sustained  interest  of  the  novel,  almost  the 
irresistible  march  of  fate  of  the  Greek  drama.  It  is  eminently  reliable."— 
Boston  Transcript. 

Brilliant,  beautiful,  unhappy,  vehement  Caroline  Norton.  .  .  .  Her 
story  is  told  here  with  sympathy,  but  yet  fairly  enough  .  .  .  interesting 
glimpses  ...  of  the  many  men  and  women  of  note  with  whom  Mrs.  Norton 
was  brought  into  more  or  less  intimate  association."— Providence  Journal. 

"  The  generous  space  allowed  her  to  tell  her  [own  story  in  the  form  of 
intimate  letters  is  a  striking  and  admirable  feature  of  the  book."—  The  Dial. 

"  She  was  an  uncommonly  interesting  personage,  and  the  memoir  .  .  . 
has  no  dull  spots  and  speedily  wins  its  way  to  a  welcome."— New  York 

"  So  exceptional  and  vivid  a  personality  ...  of  unusual  quality  .  .  .  very 
well  written."-  The  Outlook. 


With  portrait,  8vo.    $2.50  net ;  by  mail,  $2.65. 

The  author's  account  of  his  early  life  in  China,  his  education  at 
Yale,  where  he  graduated  in  1854  (LL.D.,  1876),  his  return 
to  China  and  adventures  during  the  Taiping  rebellion,  his 
intimate  association  withTsang  Kwoh  Fan  and  Li  HungChang, 
and  finally  his  great  work  for  the  ' '  Chinese  Educational  Move- 
ment "  furnish  highly  interesting  and  good  reading. 

"  It  is  his  native  land  that  is  always  the  great  heroic  character  on  the  stage 
his  mind  surveys ;  and  his  mental  grasp  is  as  wide  as  his  domiciliation.  A 

freat  life  of  action  and  reflection  and  the  experiences  of  two  hemispheres, 
t  is  not  so  much  a  knowledge  of  isolated  facts  that  is  to  be  got  from  the 
book  as  an  understanding  of  the  character  of  the  Chinese  race.  '—Hartford 

"There  is 'not  a  dull  line  in  this  simply  told  but  fascinating  biography."— 
Literary  Digest. 

"  He  has  given  Occidental  readers  an  opportunity  to  behold  the  machinery 
of  Chinese  custom  and  the  substance  of  Chinese  character  in  action.  No 
foreigner  could  possibly  have  written  a  work  so  instructive,  and  no  un- 
travelled  native  could  have  made  it  intelligible  to  the  West  ...  a  most  in- 
teresting story  both  in  the  telling  and  in  the  acting.  .  .  .  Mr.  Yung  presents 
each  of  his  readers  with  a  fragment  of  China  herself." — Living  Age. 



Bmerican  public  problems  Series 


Chinese  Immigration 

By  MARY  ROBERTS  COOLIDGE,  Formerly  Associate  Professor 
of  Sociology  in  Stanford  University.  531  pp.,  $1.75  net;  by 
mail,  $1.90.  (Just  issued.} 

Presents  the  most  comprehensive  record  of  the  Chinaman  in 
the  United  States  that  has  yet  been  attempted. 

"Scholarly.  Covers  every  important  phase,  economic,  social,  and 
political,  of  the  Chinese  question  in  America  down  to  the  San  Francisco 
fire  in  1906."— New  York  Sun. 

"Statesmanlike.    Of  intense  interest. "—Hartford  Courant. 

"A  remarkably  thorough  historical  study.  Timely  and  useful.  En- 
hanced by  the  abundant  array  of  documentary  facts  and  evidence." — 
Chicago  Record- Herald. 

Immigration:  And  Its  Effects  Upon  the  United 

By  PRESCOTT  F.  HALL,  A.B.,  LL.B,  Secretary  of  the  Immi- 
gration Restriction  League.  393  pp.  $1.50  net;  by  mail,  $1.65. 

"  Should  prove  interesting  to  everyone.  Very  readable,  forceful  and 
convincing.  Mr.  Hall  considers  every  possible  phase  of  this  great 
question  and  does  it  in  a  masterly  way  that  shows  not  only  that  he 
thoroughly  understands  it,  but  that  he  is  deeply  interested  in  it  and  has 
studied  everything  bearing  upon  it."— Boston  Transcript. 

"A  readable  work  containing  a  vast  amount  of  valuable  information. 
Especially  to  be  commended  is  the  discussion  of  the  racial  effects.  As  a 
trustworthy  general  guide  it  should  prove  a  god-send."— New  York 
Evening  Post. 

The  Election  of  Senators 

By  Professor  GEORGE  H.  HAYNES,  Author  of  '•  Representation 
in  State  Legislatures."  300  pp.  $1.50  net;  by  mail,  $1.65. 

Shows  the  historical  reasons  for  the  present  method,  and 
its  effect  on  the  Senate  and  Senators,  and  on  state  and  local 
government,  with  a  detailed  review  of  the  arguments  for  and 
against  direct  election. 

"  A  timely  book.  .  .  .  Prof.  Haynes  is  qualified  for  a  historical  and 
analytical  treatise  on  the  subject  of  the  Senate."—  Nrw  York  Evening  Sun. 




And  Other  Principles  of  Dramatic  Criticism 

By  CLAYTON  HAMILTON.     Author  of  "  Materials  and  Methods 
of  Fiction."     Probable  Price,  $1.50  net. 


THE  THEORY  OF  THE  THEATRE. — What  is  a  Play? — The  Psychology 
of  Theatre  Audiences. — The  Actor  and  the  Dramatist. — Stage  Con- 
ventions in  Modern  Times. — Economy  of  Attention  in  Theatrical  Per- 
formances.— Emphasis  in  the  Drama. — The  Four  Leading  Types  of 
Drama:  Tragedy  and  Melodrama;  Comedy  and  Farce. — The  Modern 
Social  Drama. 

Dramatist. — Dramatic  Art  and  the  Theatre  Business. — The  Happy  End- 
ings in  the  Theatre. — The  Boundaries  of  Approbation. — Imitation  and 
Suggestion  in  the  Drama. — Holding  the  Mirror  up  to  Nature. — Blank 
Verse  on  the  Contemporary  Stage. — Dramatic  Literature  and  Theatric 
Journalism. — The  Intention  of  Performance. — The  Quality  of  New 
Endeavor. — The  Effect  of  Plays  upon  the  Public. — Pleasant  and  Un- 
pleasant Plays. — Themes  in  the  Theatre. — The  Function  of  Imagination. 



By  PROF.  EDWARD  EVERETT  HALE,  JR.,  of  Union  College.    With 
gilt  top,  $1.50  net.     (By  mail,  $1.60.) 

An  informal  discussion  of  their  principal  plays  and  of  the  perform- 
ances of  some  of  them.  The  volume  opens  with  a  paper  "  On  Stand- 
ards of  Criticism,"  and  concludes  with  "  Our  Idea  of  Tragedy,"  and 
an  appendix  of  all  the  plays  of  each  author,  with  dates  of  their  first 
performance  or  publication. 

New  York  Evening  Post:  "  It  is  not  often  nowadays  that  a  theat- 
rical book  can  be  met  with  so  free  from  gush  and  mere  eulogy,  or  so 
weighted  by  common  sense  ...  an  excellent  chronological  appendix 
and  full  index  .  .  .  uncommonly  useful  for  reference." 

Dial:  "  Noteworthy  example  of  literary  criticism  in  one  of  the 
most  interesting  of  literary  fields.  .  .  .  Well  worth  reading  a  second 


By  GEORG  WITKOWSKI.    Translated  by  PROF.  L.  E.  HORNING. 
I2mo.    $1.00. 

Kleist,  Grillparzer,  Hebbel,  Ludwig,  Wildenbruch,  Sudermann,  Haupt- 
mann,  and  minor  dramatists  receive  attention. 

New  York  Times  Review:  "The  translation  of  this  brief,  clear,  and 
logical  account  was  an  extremely  happy  idea.  Nothing  at  the  same  time 
so  comprehensive  and  terse  has  appeared  on  the  subject,  and  it  is  a 
subject  of  increasing  interest  to  the  English-speaking  public." 




Assistant  Professor  in  Harvard  University 


A  Short  History.  I2mo.  278  pp.,  with  special  bibliographies 
following  each  chapter,  and  index.  $1.25  net;  by  mail,  $1.37. 

"An  almost  ideal  book  of  its  kind  and  within  its  scope  ...  a  clear 
idea  of  the  development  and  of  the  really  significant  men  of  events  of  that 
cardinal  epoch  in  the  history  of  France  and  Europe  is  conveyed  to  readers, 
many  of  whom  will  have  been  bewildered  by  the  anecdotal  fulness  or  the 
rhetorical  romancing  of  Professor  Johnston's  most  conspicuous  predecessors." 
— Churchman. 

"Deserves  to  take  rank  as  a  little  classic  and  as  such  to  be  given  a  place 
in  all  libraries.  Not  only  is  this  admirably  written,  but  it  singles  out  the 
persons  and  events  best  worth  understanding,  viewing  the  great  social  up- 
heaval from  a  long  perspective." — San  Francisco  Chronicle. 


A  Short  Biography.  I2mo.  248  pp.,  with  special  bibliographies 
following  each  chapter,  and  index.  $1.25  net ;  by  mail,  $1.37. 

"Scholarly,  readable,  and  acute." — Nation. 

"It  is  difficult  to  speak  with  moderation  of  a  work  so  pleasant  to  read,  so 
lucid,  so  skillful."— Boston  Transcript. 

"A  quite  admirable  book."— London  Spectator. 

"The  style  is  clear,  concise  and  readable." — London  Athenaeum. 

"In  a  small  volume  of  less  than  250  pages  he  gives  us  a  valuable  key  to 
the  history  of  the  European  Continent  from  the  Reign  of  Terror  to  the 
present  day." — London  Morning  Post. 


Biographies  of  Washington,  Greene,  Taylor,  Scott,  Andrew 
Jackson,  Grant,  Sherman,  Sheridan,  McClellan,  Meade,  Lee, 
"Stonewall"  Jackson,  Joseph  E.  Johnston.  With  portraits.  I  vol. 
$1.75  net ;  by  mail  $1.88. 

In  the  "Leading  Americans"  series.  Prospectus  of  the  series 
on  request. 

"Performs  a  real  service  in  preserving  the  essentials." — Review  of 

"Very  interesting.  .  .  .  Much  sound  originality  of  treatment,  and 
the  style  is  clear."— Springfield  Republican. 

»**  If  the  reader  will  send  his  name  and  address,  the  publisher*  will  send,  from 
time  to  time,  information  regarding  their  new  books. 




The  story  of  the  great  love  of  " Blind  Jim"  and  his  little  girl, 
and  of  the  affairs  of  a  successful  novelist.  Fourth  printing. 

"William  De  Morgan  at  his  very  best."— Independent. 

"Another  long  delightful  voyage  with  the  best  English  company.  The 
story  of  a  child  certainly  not  less  appealing  to  our  generation  than  Little 
Nell  was  to  hers."— New  York  Times  Saturday  Review. 


The  dramatic  story  of  some  modern  English  people  in  a 
strange  situation.  Fourth  printing.  $1.75. 

"  A  book  as  sound,  as  sweet,  as  wholesome,  as  wise,  as  any  in  the  range  of 
fiction."—  The  Nation. 

"Our  older  novelists  (Dickens  and  Thackeray)  will  have  to  look  to  their 
laurels,  for  the  new  one  is  fast  proving  himself  their  equal.  A  higher  quality 
of  enjoyment  than  is  derivable  from  the  work  of  any  other  novelist  now  liv- 
ing and  active  in  either  England  or  America."—  The  Dial. 


The  story  of  a  London  waif,  a  friendly  artist,  his  friends  and 
family.  Seventh  printing.  $1.75. 

"  Really  worth  reading  and  praising  .  .  .  will  be  hailed  as  a  masterpiece. 
If  any  writer  of  the  present  era  is  read  a  half  century  hence,  a  quarter 
century,  or  even  a  decade,  that  writer  is  William  De  Morgan."— Boston 

"  It  is  the  Victorian  age  itself  that  speaks  in  those  rich,  interesting,  over- 
crowded  books.  .  .  .  Will  be  remembered  as  Dickens's  novels  are 
remembered."— Springfield  Republican. 


A  novel  of  life  near  London  in  the  5o's.  Tenth  printing. 

"  The  book  of  the  last  decade ;  the  best  thing  in  fiction  since  Mr.  Meredith 
and  Mr.  Hardy ;  must  take  its  place  as  the  first  great  English  novel  that  has 
appeared  in  the  twentieth  century."— LEWIS  MELVILLE  in  New  York  Times 
Saturday  Review. 

"  If  the  reader  likes  both  '  David  Copperfield '  and  '  Peter  Ibbetson,'  he 
can  find  the  two  books  in  this  one."—  The  Independent. 

***  A  twenty-four  page  illustrated  leaflet  about  Mr.  De  Morgan,  with 
complete  reviews  of  his  books,  sent  on  request. 





(Prospectus  on  request) 


Large  I2mo.  Illustrated  by  half-tones  and  original  draw- 
ings. Just  published.  $1.75  net. 

Covers  classification,  propagation  and  distribution.  For  the  person 
who  eats  oysters,  clams  or  scallops,  there  is  information  on  their 
structure,  life-histories  and  habits.  A  chapter  is  devoted  to  shell-fish 
as  collectors  and  carriers  of  disease  organisms.  The  oyster  culturist 
will  find  the  life  history  of  bivalves,  a  comparison  of  various  culture 
methods,  and  a  description  of  oyster  fields  in  various  parts  of  the 
world.  Several  facts  concerning  the  habits  of  bivalves,  here  presented 
for  the  first  time,  will  be  of  interest  to  naturalists. 

FISH  STORIES:   Alleged   and   Experienced,  with  a  Little 
History,  Natural  and  Unnatural 

By  CHARLES  F.  HOLDER,  Author  of  "The  Log  of  a  Sea 
Angler,"  etc.,  and  DAVID  STARR  JORDAN,  Author  of  "  A  Guide 
to  the  Study  of  Fishes,"  etc.  With  colored  plates  and  many 
illustrations  from  photographs.  $1.75  net. 

"  A  delightful  miscellany,  telling  about  fish  of  the  strangest  kind, 
with  scientific  description  melting  into  accounts  of  personal  adventure. 
Nearly  everything  that  is  entertaining  in  the  fish  world  is  touched  upon 
and  science  and  fishing  are  made  very  readable." — New  York  Sun. 


Illustrated,  $1.50  net. 

Strange,  true  stories,  primarily  for  children,  but  certainly 
for  those  grown-ups  who  like  to  read  discriminatingly  to  their 

"  The  author  is  among  a  few  scientific  writers  of  distinction  who 
can  interest  the  popular  mind.  No  intelligent  youth  can  fail  to  read 
it  with  delight  and  profit."— The  Nation. 


With  introduction  by  PROF.  H.  F.  OSBORN.    48  Illustrations, 

$1.60  net. 

The  most  interesting  autobiography  of  the  oldest  and  best 
known  explorer  in  this  field. 

"  One  of  the  most  interesting  books  to  be  found  anywhere." — William 
Allen  White. 


A  Guide  for  the  Amateur  Aquarist.     With   100  illustrations, 
large   I2mo,  $2.00  net. 

"  The  best  guide  to  the  aquarium." — The  Independent. 




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University  of  Toronto